Here is a series of views of 19th-century Rome, by famous Roman engraver and painter Bartolomeo Pinelli (1781-1835).
After completing his studies between Bologna’s Fine Arts Academy and Rome’s Accademia di San Luca, Pinelli began a prolific career yielding some 4,000 engravings and 10,000 drawings, often dedicated to the theme of his city’s costumes, folk traditions and history.
Many of his engravings were used to illustrate 19th-century editions of literary works by Dante Alighieri, Torquato Tasso, Lodovico Ariosto and Virgil (as well as collections about Greek history or traditions in the Kingdom of Naples and Switzerland).
Pinelli grew up in the Trastevere district living with his father, an artisan who molded and sculpted statues. After studying in bologna, he returned to Rome in 1799 and first lived near today’s Sciarra Gallery (Via del Corso), then in Piazza di Spagna, in Villa Medici, and finally from 1822 and until his last days on Via Sistina (when it was still known as Via Felice, near today’s Teatro Sistina).
That area of the city was home to an extraordinary community of artists. Just a few decades before Pinelli’s arrival, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Angelika Kauffmann and Anton Raphael Mengs had lived there. During his time there, also Carlo Labruzzi, Bertel Thorvaldsen, Luigi Canina, Massimo d’Azeglio and Luigi Rossini moved in and opened their workshops.
Pinelli was a loyal patron of the local Osteria del Gabbione, on Via del Lavatore, where he went every evening with his dogs. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli immortalized the tavern (as “Gabbionaccio”) in a sonnet dedicated to Pinelli, “Morte der zor Meo”, in which he imagined the artist could suddenly disappear because of a deadly alcoholic spree.
Pinelli was buried in the Church of Saints Vincenzo and Anastasio in Trevi, but his remains have never been found due to the lack of a tombstone.
The images in our gallery are taken from “Views in Rome. Drawn and engraved by Bartolomeo Pinelli, of Rome”, published in 1834 by W.B. Cooke in London.