Sorbet Seller in Naples

Bartolomeo Pinelli

  • Sorbet Seller in Naples 2
  • Sorbet Seller in Naples 3
Basic information
Bartolomeo Pinelli
Sorbet Seller in Naples
Date of creation
etching watercolor
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
10.3 x 16.3
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 work is from the Neapolitan series. The engraving probably dates back to 1816. Its variant in black and white version was issued in the album entitled Raccolta di 50 costumi li più interresanti delle città, terre e paesi in provincia diverse del Regno di Napoli (Collection of 50 most interesting picturesque costumes from cities, towns and villages of different provinces of the Kingdom of Naples) published by Giovanni Scudellari in Rome in 1817. B. Pinelli also performed this composition in a square frame (it is presented in the album published in Leipzig in1840). In the foreground there are bright figures of Neapolitans. This is a young salesman who is giving the girl some sorbet from a long spoon. Next to the girl there is her older brother; with one of his hands on the girl's shoulder, he is passing the coin to the seller with the other hand. Close to them, there is a barrel of ice, in which a cylinder with sorbet is placed; in front of the barrel there is a basket of sweets. The action is taking place in one of the squares of Naples (apparently, this is the northern part of the city called Sanita), between the sacred buildings and against the background of Vesuvius, the top of which is fuming in the distance. The author used bright colors, depicting clothes of the characters, and dimmed ocher and blue tones while performing the second and background plans. Sorbet (sorbetto) is a frozen dessert of fruit juices, sweetened water, and honey. It was popular in Naples. In 1775, the Neapolitan physician Filippo Baldini published a brochure "De 'Sorbetti", in which he singled out fruit, chocolate, and milk sorts of this dessert. The milk dessert was also called il gelato, that is an ice cream.
In the lower right corner there is the author’s signature Pinelli f. [fеcit]. In the center of the engraving under the image there is the work’s title Venditore di Sorbetti, in Napoli. There is a number "44" in the upper right corner above the plate.