Bartolomeo Pinelli's Rome

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Barolomeo Pinelli (1781-1835), La Lanterna Magica (The Magic Lantern), 1815. Etching. Graphic Arts Theater Collection

If you want to know about the culture and costumes in Rome during the early nineteenth century, look no further than Bartolomeo Pinelli. His portfolios of etchings include Collection of Roman Costumes, Another Collection of Roman Costumes, The Carnival of Rome, Roman History, Costumes of the Roman Countryside and so on.

These unbound sets have often been broken up, sold individually, and reassembled into personalized compilations for private collectors. Graphic Arts holds such an album titled Twenty-Seven Etchings Illustrative of Italian Manners and Costume (1844), “comprising Picturesque Costumes of Rome, in twelve plates; The Carnival, in five plates; and Adventures of Massaroni, in ten plates.”

Our theater collection holds several views depicting popular entertainments, including a peep show and a Punch and Judy show. In the first, the showman raises the top of the box to light the picture inside from the front, showing a scene during the day. When he closes the top, the light comes from behind through holes in the back and gives the impression of a nighttime scene. If he does this carefully, it should look to the viewer as though the scene is changing from day into night. His wife provides the musical accompaniment.

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Bartolomeo Pinelli (1781-1835), Il Casotto dei Burattini in Roma (A Puppet Show in Rome), 1815. Etching. Graphic Arts Theater Collection