Bartolomeo Pinelli was as Italian illustrator, painter and sculptor born on November 20, 1781. He was born in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome as the son of a sculptor who made religious figures. Pinelli received initial training in Bologna. He later went to the Accademia di San Luca in Rome.
After completing studies, he returned to Trastevere, a poor neighborhood of Rome. He set up his first studio at the Piazza Sciarra on the Corso. His son, Achilli Pinelli grew up to become a famous watercolorist.
Life as an Artist
Bartolomeo Pinelli was an excellent engraver and his sculptures portrayed the contemporary lifestyle including costumes of the Italian people. Most common among his illustrations were the great epic poems, monuments and inhabitants of Rome. During the initial years as an independent artist, Pinelli’s works comprised of watercolors in the style of Franz Kaiserman. From 1807, he started working on an album of 36 watercolors titled Scene e Costumi di Roma e del Lazio (Scenes and Costumes from Rome and the Lazio). As an engraver, he created a collection of 50 engravings in 1809 entitled Raccolta di cinquanta costumi pittoreschi incisi all'acquaforte (Collection of 50 picturesque costumes engraved with acquaforte).
In the year 1816, he created illustrations for La Storia Romana(Roman History). In 1821, he completed illustrations for La Storia Greca(Greek history). He was a great admirer of the history, traditions and religion of ancient Rome and Greece and created a series of engravings based on the pantheons of classical Gods.
He later created a series of prints based on La Storia del Brigante Decapitito (story of the Decapitated Brigand). It was about the story of a brigand who was decapitated while he was sleeping by his wife in revenge for the murder of her child. The above series of prints shows his love for popular tales and the admiration that some of the educated and aristocratic class held for brigand culture. Pinelli thought that the brigands had inherited their quest for independence from the imposed laws from the desire of liberty during ancient Republican Rome. He thought that the Italian nationalism would bring about the return of ancient Roma values.
During the period 1822 to 1823 he created a set of 52 prints based on a satirical poem ‘’II Meo Patacca”.
Bartolomeo Pinelli died poor on April 1, 1835.
Interior of a Roman Inn by Italian Illustrator Bartolomeo Pinelli (1817)
Death of a Roman Matron by Italian Illustrator Bartolomeo Pinelli