(Modena,ca. 1700 - Naples,1770)A game of "palla a bracciale" in the gardens of Palazzo Barberini in Rome
Through the eyes of the Modenese view painter Antonio Joli we witness a game of “pallamaglio” (Pall-Mall in English) or "palla a bracciale" being played in the gardens of Palazzo Barberini in Rome. This sport, which has been considered one of the precursors of modern cricket, was very popular in Italy during the eighteenth century. Almost as if we were observing from a balcony, we can follow the scene below, composed of noblemen, a line of spectators, two boys chased by a dog in the middle of the composition, and groups of men and women meeting each other or engaged in conversation. Typical of Joli’s views is the precise, almost topographical presentation of place. The artist lived and worked in London between 1744and 1748, earning great praise among the sophisticated patrons of the Grand Tour era.
H. Olmius collection (as per inscription on the back of the painting);
English private collection.
R. Toledano, Antonio Joli, Turin 2006, pp. 354-355, N.XXI.1/2/3.