Paintings | 17th Century | Paolo Monaldi | Bambocciata: Feast of Peasants in the Roman Countryside | Artwork profile

49,2 x 65 cm
Oil on canvas


Bambocciata: Feast of Peasants in the Roman Countryside

Paolo Monaldi

The subject

The work presented here is an example of 18th century ‘Bambocciata’, a movement that formed around the Flemish painter Pieter Van Laer, who was active in Rome beginning in the first half of the 17th century and given the nickname ‘Bamboccio’ due to his boyish appearance. This movement was characterized by the depiction of popular scenes from common life in Papal Rome, going beyond the canons and standard official subjects of the time. The protagonists of these works were thieves, bootlickers, gamblers and prostitutes captured in moments from their daily lives, always depicted against the majestic setting of the ruins of Imperial Rome. Giuseppe Passeri, Baroque painter and a student of Maratti, wrote of Van Laer:


“Because he (Pieter Van Laer) was unique in representing the honest truth in its pure essence, his paintings appeared to be an open window (…)”.


A definition that perfectly describes this work: an open view of an inn and its patrons shown in their daily activities: some are engrossed in drinking wine, some in conversation and card playing and others, overcome by the labours of the day, have fallen asleep.

The painting

Paolo Monaldi was active in Rome in the 18th century, almost a century after the development of the ‘Bambocciata’ paintings that had achieved great commercial success. Collectors filled their collections with these generally quite small works arousing the envy of the more academic painters who expressed their distress at the paintings, mortified by such vulgar topics. The artist inserted the initials “PM” on a pitcher placed on a barrel in the left of the painting.

The landscape in the background is very 17th century in style: the shades of the clouds, the silhouettes of the trees in the distance and the flock of birds lightly sketched against the sky bring to mind the pastoral and classical landscapes of Claude Lorrain and Salvatore Rosa.