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Fine Art, Theatre, Pulcinella, Linda Chittaro, Drawing, Italy, 1969


Linda Chitarro (act. 1940s-1960s)
Italy: 1969
Ink on paper, highlighted in watercolor
Signed and dated lower left
18.25 x 12.25 inches

A fine and lively drawing of an actor or dancer portraying Pulcinella (sometimes spelled Pulcinello), an ever-popular trickster clown character in Italian culture that originated in the theatrical tradition of commedia dell’arte. He is shown with an animated facial expression and pose wearing his traditional white costume of long baggy blouse, tied at the waist over loose trousers, tall hat, and white gloves. His wrists and ankles are highlighted in red. The drawing is sketched in fine lines, with the figure emerging from a background shaded with dense curling lines that create a feeling of swirling atmosphere and movement.

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The character of Pulcinella originated in region of Naples around the turn of 15th and 16th centuries, and subsequently was popularized throughout Italy. It also generated analogs in Europe including the character Punch in England, and Petrushka in Russia; they shared the same basic costume and comically disruptive behavior. In fine art, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (1727-1804) made a famous series of 104 drawings of scenes illustrating the life of Pulcinello around the turn of the 18th/19th century; perhaps they inspired the offered drawing by Chitarro, In the world of theater, in the 1920s the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky¬† wrote a one-act ballet, Pulcinella, based on an 18th century play. It was revived with a revised score by Stravinsky in 1965. Inasmuch as the offered drawing was formerly part of a prominent collection of ballet and opera costume designs of the mid-20th-century, it is plausible that Chitarro executed this drawing in 1969 as a costume relating to Stravinksy’s ballet.

Linda Chitarro was an artist and gallerist in Rome, Italy in the mid 20th century. In 1943 she opened Lo Zodiaco [Zodiac Gallery], one of the few private art galleries in Rome during the 1940s. She was viewed with affection by both Italian and foreign artists and intellectuals for fostering the contemporary art scene in Rome. In 1953, she was given her debut solo show of her own pen and ink drawings at the Obelisco Gallery in Rome. A newspaper review of it praised her distinctive style and sensitivity to the beauty of nature and noted that the drawings had come as a revelation to those who only knew her as an art dealer.


Dessì, Giuseppe and Franca Linari. Diari 1949-1951. Florence, Italy: Firenze University Press, 2009. p. 13. Online at Google Books: (6 August 2020).

Horvath, Agnes. “Pulcinella, or the metaphysics of the nulla: in between politics and theatre.” History of the Human Sciences. Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 50-51. (6 August 2020).

“Mostre d’Arte: Linda Chittaro.” 1953. (6 August 2020).

“Pulcinella (ballet).” Wikipedia. 31 July 2020. (6 August 2020).

Additional information


20th Century