Friday, January 31, 2014

Print of the Day: Pulcinella in Rome, 1815

Click image to enlargePulcinella in Rome
Bartolomeo Pinelli, 1815
The Harry Beard Collection at
The Victoria & Albert Museum

From the Harry Beard Collection at the V&A, here’s an etching of a Pulcinella Show (Mr. Punch’s Italian ancestor) being performed in Rome.

The etching was made in 1815 after a painting by Bartolomeo Pinelli (1781-1835). Pulcinella wears his traditional white robe and cap and his black half-mask. Like Mr. Punch, Pulcinella is often armed with a large stick, truncheon or cudgel which he uses to dispatch those who might prevent him from achieving his random goals.

Also interesting is the depiction of the crowd watching the show. Pulcinella, again, like Punch, is the great communicator—attracting people from all corners of life. Here, we see monks curious children, a maid, a gentleman, a middle-class mother and child, and, even a rake smoking a pipe.

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