Watermelon Sellers in Naples

Bartolomeo Pinelli

  • Watermelon Sellers in Naples 2
  • Watermelon Sellers in Naples 3
Basic information
Bartolomeo Pinelli
Watermelon Sellers in Naples
Date of creation
etching watercolor
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
10.3 x 16.2
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 composition is from the Neapolitan series. In 1815, B. Pinelli performed the engraving Il Cocommeraro, known from the album Nuova Raccolta di 50 costumi pittoreschi… dated 1815. The "Lviv'' version of this composition has been significantly changed by the author. There is another version of this composition similar to the "Lviv'' one, which depicts more characters and is performed in a square frame (the exact year is not defined). It’s a foreground composition. A seller of watermelons is depicted at the table in the centre of the engraving; he is inviting buyers, raising up his hands with a watermelon cut in half. He is wearing a light shirt with a red vest, and long blue pants; there is a red cap on his head. His assistant is depicted at the table on the left. He is cutting the next watermelon with a large knife. He is wearing the same light shirt, red pants, and a black hat. There are watermelon buyers in front of the table, namely a young mother, who is enjoying the watermelon taste. Her child is depicted next to her; a boy is holding out his hands for the watermelon as he wants to taste it too. The woman is dressed in a traditional blue Neapolitan vest with a yellow edging, and a long crimson skirt; her head is covered with a long headscarf. The boy is wearing yellow clothing. On the right there are two more consumers of sweet berries, namely a teenage girl in a blue skirt; a red headscarf is thrown on her shoulders; she is girded with a wide yellow belt. There is a man next to her; he has a bag over his shoulder; he is wearing a hat, a blue jacket, red pants, and white stockings. He has a horn and a flask on his belt. Three rows of cut in half watermelons are displayed on the shelves to the right. A picture is hanging on an improvised gallows above them; it depicts two people rolling a huge watermelon. The composition is bright and saturated with warm colors, among which the crimson color dominates.
In the lower left corner there is the author’s signature Pinelli written in italics, date – 1817, and the place of performance – Roma (illegibly). In the center of the engraving under the image there is the work’s title Il Melonaro é Cocommeraro, in Napoli. There is a number "45" in the upper right corner above the plate.