Old Pilgrim


Pietro Bellotti ( Italian, 1627 - 1700 )

c. 1660s–1670s
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General Description

This figure of an anonymous man appears extraordinarily vivid as it emerges from the dark, plain background. He does not wear the usual badge of a pilgrim, the cockle shell, but instead has a red cross stitched to his tattered satchel. The man’s character as a pilgrim is confirmed by his traveling cloak, walking stick, and weathered, dirty hands. Pietro Bellotti is known for his careful attention to the textures of wrinkled skin, coarse hair, and homespun cloth. Bellotti was deeply influenced by the gritty realism of Spanish painting and the dramatic lighting effects pioneered by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (Italian, 1571–1610), and he favored subjects such as paupers and pilgrims that gave him free rein to explore these qualities in paint.

Excerpt from

Heather MacDonald, DMA label copy, 2012.