This display focuses on drawings by members of the so-called ‘Bentvueghels’, a group of mainly Netherlandish artists who worked and lived together in Rome in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Dutch name can be translated as ‘birds of a feather’, and refers to the kindred spirit that drew these artists together in a foreign country. All new members received a nickname and had to go through an initiation ritual. This usually involved performances, games and copious amounts of alcohol.
The Bentvueghels depicted idealised southern landscapes, often including Roman remains. But they also painted everyday street life. These genre scenes were called bambocciati. The name is derived from their member Pieter van Laer’s nickname ‘Il Bamboccio’ (the puppet) because he was the first to depict such scenes. Some, but not all of the Bentvueghels followed his example and as a result the term ‘Bamboccianti’ has sometimes been confused with that of the Bentvueghels.