Beni Culturali Soprintendenza Speciale per il Patrimonio Storico Artistico ed Etnoantropologico per il Polo Museale della città di Roma

Achilles Dragging the Body of Hector

Bartolomeo Pinelli, Achille trascina il corpo di Ettore - Achilles Dragging the Body of Hector
Object belonging
One's own
Terracotta sculpture
Museo Nazionale del Palazzo di Venezia
Specific location
Store at the Museo di Roma in Palazzo Braschi
PV 10387
Material and technique
Bartolomeo Pinelli (1781-1835)
50 x 90 x 40 cm.
Gorga Collection (1948)
Image copyright
Archivio Fotografico Museo di Roma

Short description

Bartolomeo Pinelli’s reputation derives principally from his vast number of pictorial works inspired by Rome and from his tantalizing evocations of the city in numerous watercolours, drawings and prints. Just as important was his, albeit less numerous, production of terracottas, with which Pinelli worked from the start of his career, making around 30 small-scale sculptures, usually signed and dated. Oreste Raggi, the most important of Pinelli’s biographers, noted that the artist “made, in his final days, many small groups out of clay, depicting modern dress, which he sold, as usual, for an extremely modest price. […] His method of sculpting is pleasing because his spirit, his passion and his sure touch run through every work”. Pinelli had intended to make one hundred sculptures but only completed 29 and in 1834 he executed a series of engravings (groups modelled in terracotta by Pinelli and etched by the artist too). A significant nucleus of these works came to Palazzo Venezia at two different points: 6 sculptures were given by the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo in 1920, while 4 others, which formed part of the collection of Evangelista Gorga, were acquired by the state in 1948. The group was inspired by the lives of bandits and life in the Roman countryside, with the exception of two sculptures that are distinctly classical. One relates to a passage from the Illiad (Book XXII), when Achilles mistreats the body of Hector to avenge the murder of Patroclus. A sense of narrative is evoked through the emphatic gesture of Achilles who, as he stands on his chariot, looks disdainfully at the body of Hector, which bears the signs of the torture it has undergone, his limbs resembling those of Christ after the Deposition. The work, as a whole, lacks a correct sense of proportion, particularly in the elongated depictions of the horses, while a crack, which probably appeared in the process of firing, separates the chariot from the body of Hector. The work is signed and dated on the pedestal, but it is also recorded by a receipt given by Pinelli to Giovanni Scudellari on 26 January 1883, in which the artist stated that he had been paid for the work, though had not yet delivered it (Incisa della Rocchetta 1956).

Cristiano Giometti 


A. Santangelo (ed.), Museo di Palazzo Venezia. Catalogo delle sculture, Rome 1954, p. 92; G. Incisa della Rocchetta (ed.), Mostra di Bartolomeo Pinelli. Itinerari, Rome 1956, p. 6

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