Micheletti – Costumes of the Kingdom of Naples

Bartolomeo Pinelli

  • Micheletti – Costumes of the Kingdom of Naples 2
  • Micheletti – Costumes of the Kingdom of Naples 3
Basic information
Bartolomeo Pinelli
Micheletti – Costumes of the Kingdom of 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 composition is from the Neapolitan series. The image of Micheletto, a Neapolitan warrior since the reign of the proteges of Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte and later of Joachim Murat (1806–1815), was first depicted by B. Pinelli in watercolor in 1807. The composition, in which a young Neapolitan woman is pointing the way to two soldiers, B. Pinelli presented in 1809, publishing it as a black and white engraving in the album Raccolta di cinquanta costumi pittoreschi. The second version, that is almost identical to the "Lviv" one, is known from the album Costumi dei Regno di Napoli dated 1815, as well as from Nuova Raccolta di 50 costumi pittoreschi dated 1816. The "Lviv" version is completely replicated as a black and white engraving in the album dated 1817. The composition is depicting the moment of a meeting of a young mountain girl with two soldiers that are standing near the path between powerful boulders and trees; apparently they are guarding the path. They are standing and leaning on the fusees; they are wearing a military uniform with ammunition and pistols on their belts. On the head of one of them there is a top hat; the other one is wearing a bicorne with a red pompom but without a tricolor cockade. They are wearing high boots on their feet. The girl is looking bravely and openly at the military men. She is dressed in traditional but modest clothes, namely in a light shirt with a yellow and blue apron, and a crimson skirt. On her feet there are traditional ciocie. In her left hand, she is holding a basket covered with greenery. She is probably going to church to consecrate the Easter cake. The clothes of the figures are performed in bright saturated colors, in particular in red, blue, and yellow paints. Trees and boulders are depicted in dark brown and green colors. The distant background with mountain range and greenery of trees is performed in blurred blue and green tones. Micheletto is a popular name for a soldier of the Neapolitan army in the Kingdom of Naples, which was a French satellite between 1806 and 1815. After the return to power of the Bourbon dynasty in 1816, the name and form of the soldiers, apparently, did not change.
In the lower left corner, on the stone depicted in the composition, there is the author’s signature Pinelli and date – 1816; below to the right of the centre there is one more author’s signature Pinelli f. [fecit]. In the center of the engraving under the image there is the work’s title Micheletti – Costumi del Regno di Napoli. There is a number "46" in the upper right corner above the plate.