Skip to Content
Closed today, next open tomorrow. Closed today, next open tomorrow.

The Beggar Boy (The Young Pilgrim)

A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of oil on canvas.




Giovanni Battista Piazzetta
Italian, 1682-1754

About this artwork

Art historians long identified the subject of this painting as a beggar boy; however, it is now believed to portray the artist’s oldest child, Giacomo (the Italian form of James), in the costume of a pilgrim bound for Santiago de Compostela, Spain, where the apostle James reputedly settled. Carrying a loaf of bread and a rosary, Giacomo sports the hat and staff of a Santiago pilgrim. The boy would have been 13 years old in 1738, when this work was likely painted. It therefore probably shows him setting out on the pilgrimage of life, under the protection of his patron saint.


On View, Gallery 217


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Giovanni Battista Piazzetta


The Beggar Boy (The Young Pilgrim)


Italy (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


67.7 × 54.7 cm (26 5/8 × 21 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Charles H. and Mary F. S. Worcester Collection

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

Learn more.

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions