Seller of Zeppola Pastries in Naples

Bartolomeo Pinelli

  • Seller of Zeppola Pastries in Naples 2
  • Seller of Zeppola Pastries in Naples 3
Basic information
Bartolomeo Pinelli
Seller of Zeppola Pastries in Naples
Date of creation
etching watercolor
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
10 x 16
Information about author
Bartolomeo Pinelli
Artist's lifetime
Bartolomeo Pinelli (1781, Rome – 1835, ibid.) was an Italian painter, engraver, and sculptor. He was the son of the ceramist G. B. Pinelli. Bartolomeo Pinelli was born in ​​the Trastevere district (over the River Tiber). Street sketches of that western suburb of Rome repeatedly appeared in his graphic works later. He studied in Bologna, later on – at Accademia di San Luca (Academy of Saint Luke) in Rome. He attended the Academy of Felice Giani, an Italian painter of the Neoclassic style, from whom he inherited the drawing style. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Bartolomeo Pinelli took an interest in the engravings of the Renaissance, namely in the works by Marcantonio Raimondi, and started making etchings and lithographs out of his drawings. In 1809, Pinelli created his first series of watercolor etchings – Collection of 50 picturesque costumes (Raccola di cinquanta costumi pittoreschi). The album was reissued in 1814 and 1815. In 1816, a new version of the album under the title Nuova Raccolta di Cinquanta costumi pittoreschi incisi di acqua forte was released. Most of the Lviv engravings are from this series. The central theme of the artist's creative work is genre scenes (Costumi), which he saw in Rome, Naples, as well as the provinces of Abruzzo and Molise. Pinelli's engravings have not only artistic value but also carry important ethnographic information. In the 1820s and 1830s, the artist created drawings and engravings for poems by Torquato Tasso (1827–1829) and the novel “Don Quixote” (1834) by Miguel de Cervantes. One of Pinelli's famous series of drawings is Seven Hills of Rome (Sette colli di Roma) (1827–1830). The artist's works are housed in many Italian museums as well as in collections of other countries.
Object description
The first version of the engraving is unknown. The “Lviv” version might be dated 1816. The work is from the Neapolitan series. Like in many other compositions that are depicting the sellers of Naples, the scene is taking place in the same square next to the temple. It might be the Basilica di Santa Maria della Sanità located north of the city center in the Sanita neighborhoods. From that perspective, one can clearly see Vesuvius; it is seen in the distance on the right. In the center of the composition, in the foreground, one can see a young salesman who is talking to a boy, raising his hand with a horn and pointing to a table with a large bag of pastries. The girl, a sales assistant, is forming the pastries into a zeppola cookie. The artist highlights the light and ordinary clothes of the Neapolitan common people with bright watercolor, namely the red vests of a young salesman and a boy, their blue and yellow knee-length trousers, and a girl’s pink long skirt with a blue apron. The young seller, like the young boy, is standing barefoot on the sun-baked stone terrace; on his head there is a black hat decorated with a flower. The girl's hair is tied with a white headscarf; there are sandals on her feet. Buildings and the sky with Vesuvius serve as the background of the composition; they are depicted in blurred ocher and pink, and light blue tones. Rione Sanità, literally Health Neighborhood, is a densely populated neighborhood in the Stella district north of Naples’ downtown. Now they are full of small street markets where food and clothing are sold; there are also ice cream shops and simple trattorias. Zeppola is a traditional Neapolitan pastry; round pancakes are topped with cream or honey.
In the lower left corner there is the author’s signature Pinelli f. [fecit]. In the center of the engraving under the image there is the work’s title Venditore di Paste, dette Zeppole, in Napoli. There is a number "39" in the upper right corner above the plate.