[From the catalogue-in-progress for “Landscapes & Livestock”, a loan exhibition for Agincourt Homecoming in the Fall of 2015]
BARTOLUCCI-ALFIERI, Pierluigi [1892-1933]
1) “Piazza Campitelli, Roma”
drypoint etching / 6.5 inches by 4.5 inches
2) “Domine, Quo Vadis?”
drypoint etching / 6.125 inches by 6.875 inches
Defining a “Golden Age” of printmaking depends upon the technique. Though the collection is rich in paintings, we are fortunate to have a few examples of various printing types, notably etching and woodcut. These two prints by Pierluigi Bartolucci-Alfieri represent European etching in the early 20th century.
Bartolucci-Alfieri lived to the age of forty-one and may have produced few works, if internet searches are reliable. Those that can be identified are engraved views of European cities, such as this pair of scenes from Rome. Both of these show oblique views of urban churches, favorites for American tourists whose numbers grew exponentially after the First World War. One illustrates the church of Santa Maria in Portico, built 1659-1667, a Baroque design by Carlo Rainaldi. An even less visited church is shown in the second print: Santa Maria in Palmis, celebrating the spot where Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, where are you going?” Even in their simplified vocabulary, one is sunny and familiar, the other moody, in shadow. Curiously, neither shows signs of inhabitation: absent are people, street vendors, vehicles or any other activities that make Roman street life so memorable.
Also curious, the provenance of these prints is unknown.