Riccardo Pellegrini- inv. 3202

Riccardo Pellegrini (1863-1934)

Blessing the Ossuary
42,5 x 66 cm
"Riccardo Pellegrini
1935-1945 donation Pellegrini's widow
Inv. 3202

not on display
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In good condition, the work is an important example of Riccardo Pellegrini’s style. He was also an illustrator and a cartoonist. Though not dated, the painting can be placed between the 1880s and 1890s.
On the right, with his back to the spectator, a priest is blessing an ossuary in the presence of the devoted. The scene is very crowded, but the artist’s attention seems to be focussed on describing the architectural details, the liturgical vestments, the people’s garments and above all their gestures. With arms outstretched towards the ossuary, the priest is holding perhaps a censor (in which incense is burned) in his left hand and a palm branch in his right. On the left, in the foreground, a group of people participate, holding torches and candles. On the right of the ossuary, an old man is sitting on a bench into which other candles have been inserted, perhaps waiting for alms. The artist’s skill in rendering facial mimicry should be noted; all the characters seem to be reciting the same prayer or song.
From a technical point of view, the watercolour has been skilfully executed in only three colours - white, grey and black - that have been spread to exploit the beige of the paper ground.