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A family group on a farm near Rome
This etching was accompanied by a generic reference to a vigna (farm) near Porta Ostiense, but Family members spending their time ridding themselves of lice would have been a more appropriate description of its content. At that time the link between lice infestation and typhus was not yet known, however the French administration of Rome (1809-14) promoted a greater attention to personal hygiene. The idyllic scene portrayed by Pinelli does not show the special comb which was used to remove lice eggs.
The porters worked at the inns of the Strangers' Quarter and the woman was one of the models described by Charles Dickens a few years later.
The city couple who watches the scene with some curiosity was probably returning from a
promenade at il Pincio, a practice introduced by the French.
In this etching Pinelli shows the twin domes of Piazza del Popolo and Monte Mario (its dimensions are grossly exaggerated).
Players of "morra" near Tribuna di S. Maria Maggiore
Cielo sereno in Italian means clear sky. And a clear sky is necessary when you go to sing under the window of your beloved. Pinelli knew all the inns of Rome very well; he set the scene of this etching outside Osteria del Cocchio (The Coach's Inn) which was located near the rear fašade of S. Maria Maggiore; the buildings in the background belonged to Villa Negroni (formerly Villa Peretti). There were more than 700 inns in XIXth century Rome and probably more than one Osteria del Cocchio. An inn by this name was also known as Osteria della Sposata (The Wife's Inn) because it was popular as a site for wedding festivities. Certainly it was a place where families could afford to go. After lunch men played morra, a popular hand game, in its rock-paper-scissors variant.
Sellers of fried fish
Pinelli did not provide any information on the whereabouts of this scene; the fish market was located at Piazza di Pescheria. In Rome small fillets of baccalÓ (dried salted codfish) are a popular appetizer, especially if the meal is limited to a pizza. They are no longer sold in the streets; il Filettaro at S. Barbara dei Librai is known for this food. It used to be a very inexpensive place.
Pinelli was not a very pious man and his attitude towards religion shows up in this etching.
Everything which was printed in the Papal State had to be previously approved by Sant'Uffizio and therefore Pinelli
had to be very cautious in his works. Yet the censors did not notice in this scene
his subtle criticism of how the Roman Catholic Church made use of fear. The preacher, a Franciscan, is portrayed in a threatening attitude between two hooded brothers;
the audience appears to be very scared and almost close to bursting into tears.
Pinelli was not very fearful of eternal damnation; when he was excommunicated he lodged a complaint because in the notice affixed to S. Bartolomeo all'Isola Tiberina he was referred to as being a miniaturist, while he was an engraver.
A criminal and his family praying at a sacred image near Arco dei Pantani
In 1796 when French troops invaded the Papal State many sacred images behaved in a miraculous way.
In most cases they repeatedly moved their eyes; the madonna painted at the end of Via Baccina made a bunch of white lilies bloom again. Pope Pius VI granted special indulgences to those who prayed at this image.
In the inscription he dictated for the occasion, he made reference to the need of
approaching the sacred image with animo contrito (remorseful state of mind).
For this reason the sacred image attracted those who felt regret about their violent acts.
Women quarrelling at Via del Tritone
Today Via del Tritone is one of the busiest streets of Rome: it links Piazza Colonna with Termini Railway Station. Old Via del Tritone was a very narrow street and in order to enlarge it the buildings on both sides were pulled down. It ended at Piazza Barberini: the grand entrance to the gardens of the Barberini Palace was pulled down to make room for the prolongation of the street. The faces of the characters portrayed by Pinelli were rather standardized, but that of the man standing on the right is the actual portrait of the owner of the inn where the engraver had his meals.
Concert at Pinelli's preferred inn near SS. Claudio ed Andrea dei Borgogononi
The same character is portrayed in this scene which is set inside the inn. Pinelli is the well dressed gentleman sitting on the left.
He was not a rich man and probably by portraying the owner of the inn he was trying to capture
his benevolence and possibly obtain some credit.
The musicians were carciofolari, peasants from Abruzzo who came to Rome to earn some money. They usually came on November 25, the feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria, which was regarded as the beginning of the winter season. They were called carciofolari because of the approximate rhymes of their songs.