Family Combing Parasites (Picturesque Group)

Bartolomeo Pinelli

  • Family Combing Parasites (Picturesque Group) 2
  • Family Combing Parasites (Picturesque Group) 3
Basic information
Bartolomeo Pinelli
Family Combing Parasites (Picturesque Group)
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 a son of the ceramist J. B. Pinelli. Bartolomeo Pinelli was born in ​​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 studio of Felice Giani, an Italian painter of the Neoclassic style, from whom he inherited the style of drawing. 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 Lviv's engravings are from this series. The main 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 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 Roman series. Similar variants to the "Lviv'' one are known from engravings dated 1809 and 1815. The "Lviv" composition is simplified; less attention is paid to architectural details and figures of characters. It is a multi-figure composition of a grotesque type. In the center, a mother is sitting on the podium by the wall; she is picking head lice from her son's hair. He closed his eyes and put his head on her knees. The eldest daughter, in her turn, is looking for the parasites in her mother’s head; she is standing on the podium behind her. The youngest child tied with a strap to a rod nailed into the wall looks exceptionally funny; the girl is sucking her finger thoughtfully, pulling the loop of the strap with her weight. An ordinary and a bit damaged wall of the house, with fragments of windows at the top, serves as the background for the main part of the work. Only on the left, where the wall ends, a woman is depicted with two spindles in her hands; she is wearing a traditionally folded flattop headscarf. Her figure is in the center of an independent composition separated from the wall by a fragment of a tree with a green crown and a blue mountain top in the background. The gray and white, and bright colors of clothes, namely blue, yellow, red and crimson ones, highlight the figures. The wall of the house and the ground are depicted in blurred ocher and pink, as well as gray and blue tones.
In the lower left corner there is the author’s signature Pinelli written in italics, date – 1816, and the place of performance – Roma (illegibly). In the center of the engraving under the image there is the work’s title Gruppo Pittoresco. There is a number "48" in the upper right corner above the plate.