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Sebastiano Ricci


Bacchus and Ariadne

Esther Before The Persian King Ahasuerus

Abraham and the Three Angels

Allegory of the Arts

Allegory of Tuscany

Altar of St. Gerard of Csanád

Adoration of the Magi

Communion of the Apostles

Bacchus and Ariadne

Bathsheba in her bath

Liberation of St Peter by an angel

Palazzo Marucelli - Fenzi : Punishment of Cupid

Palazzo Marucelli - Fenzi : Hercules and Cacus

Palazzo Marucelli - Fenzi : Hercules vs Nessus

The dream of Esculapius

Diana and Endymion

The accused Susanna and the Prophet Daniel

The Dario family before Alexander the Great

The childhood of Ciro

The childhood of Ciro , detail

The rescue of Moses

The reluctance of Scipio

Apotheosis of a Saint

Apotheosis of a Saint

Apparition of the Madonna

Flight to Egypt

Palazzo Pitti : Diana and Callisto

Palazzo Pitti : Venus and Adonis

Palazzo Pitti : Coat of arms of the Medici

Intercession of Pope Gregory the Great

Prayer of Christ on the Mount of Olives

Burlington House: Cupidus before Jupiter

Burlington House: Bacchus and Ariadne

Pope Paul III . animated by faith in the council

Meeting of Pope Paul III . , Francis I and Charles V.

Tomb of the Duke of Devonshire

Holy Family with St. Anne

Holy Family and St. Ignatius of Loyola

St. Elizabeth of Hungary

St. Francis of Paula brought a dead child

St. Helena is the Holy Cross

St. Proculus , St Firmus and St Rusticus of Verona

Wedding at Cana

Wedding at Cana , detail

Battle of the Lapiths and Centaurs

Lucius Junius Brutus kisses the ground

Lucius Junius Brutus kisses the ground , detail


Maria Gloria with Archangel and Holy

Martyrdom of St. Lucia

Sacrifice to the God Selenus

Sacrifices for the goddess Vesta

Rape of Europa

Rest on the Flight to Egypt

Solomon's idolatry

Sleeping Nymph , seen by two satyrs

Victory of wisdom over ignorance

Fall of the rebellious angels

Susanna and the Elders

Venus and Cupid

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Hercules at the crossroads

Jupiter and Semele

Phineas with the Boreads

Solomon Adoring Idols

The Refusal of Archimedes

Venus and Cupid

Venus and Eros

Victory of the wisdom over the ignorance

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Sebastiano Ricci (1 August 1659 – 15 May 1734) was an Italian painter of the late Baroque school of Venice. About the same age as Piazzetta, and an elder contemporary of Tiepolo, he represents a late version of the vigorous and luminous Cortonesque style of grand manner fresco painting.

Early years

He was born in Belluno, son of Andreana and Livio Ricci. In 1671, he apprenticed to Federico Cerebri of Venice. Others claim Ricci’s first master was Sebastiano Mazzoni. In 1678, a youthful indiscretion led to an unwanted pregnancy, and ultimately to a greater scandal, when Ricci was accused of attempting to poison the young pregnant woman to avoid marriage. Imprisoned, he gained release only after intervention of a nobleman, probably a Pisani family member. He married the pregnant mother in 1691, although this was a stormy union.

After his arrest, he moved to Bologna, where he domiciled near the Parish of San Michele del Mercato. His painting style there was apparently influenced by Giovanni Gioseffo dal Sole. On 28 September 1682 he was contracted by the "Fraternity of Saint John of Florence" to paint a Decapitation of John the Baptist for their Oratory. On 9 December 1685, the Count of San Segundo near Parma commissioned from Ricci the decoration of the Oratory of the Madonna of the Seraglio, which he completed in collaboration of Ferdinando Galli-Bibiena by October 1687, receiving a compensation of 4,482 Lira. In 1686, the Duke Ranuccio II Farnese of Parma commissioned s Pietà for a new Capuchin convent. From 1687-1688, the apartments of the Parmense Duchess in Piacenza were decorated by Ricci with canvases recalling the life of the Farnese pope: Paul III.

Ricci in Turin, then return to Venice

Apparently in 1688, Ricci abandoned his wife and daughter, and fled from Bologna to Turin with Magdalen, the daughter of the painter Giovanni Francesco Peruzzini. He was again imprisoned, and nearly executed, but ultimately was freed by the intercession of the Duke of Parma. The duke employed him and assigned him a monthly salary of 25 crowns and lodging in the Farnese palace in Rome. In 1692, he was commissioned to copy the Coronation of Charlemagne by Raphael in Vatican City, on behalf of Louis XIV, a task he finished only by 1694. The death of the Duke Ranuccio in December, 1694, who was also his protector, forced Ricci to abandon Rome for Milan, where by November of 1695 he completed frescoes in the Ossuary Chapel of the Church of San Bernardino dei Morti. On 22 June 1697, the Count Giacomo Durini hired him to paint in the Cathedral of Monza.

In 1698, he returned to the Venetian republic for a decade. By 24 August, 1700, he frescoed the chapel of the Santissimo Sacramento in the church of Santa Giustina of Padua. In 1701, the Venetian geographer Vincenzo Maria Coronelli commissioned a canvas of the Ascension that was inserted on the ceiling of sacristy of the Basilica of the Santi Apostoli in Rome. In 1702, he frescoed the ceiling of the Blue Hall in the Schönbrunn Palace, with the Allegory of the Princely Virtues and Love of Virtue, that illustrated the education and dedication of future emperor Joseph I. In Vienna, Frederick August II, the elector Saxony, requested an Ascension canvas, in part to convince others of the sincerity of his conversion to Catholicism, which allowed him to become the King of Poland. In 1704 he executed in Venice a canvas of San Procolo (Saint Proculus) for the Dome of Bergamo and a Crucifixion for the Florentine church of S. Francisco de Macci.

Florentine fresco masterpieces

In the summer of 1706, he traveled to Florence, where he completed a work that is by many considered his masterpieces. During his Florentine stay he first completed a large fresco series on allegorical and mythological themes [1] for the now-called Marucelli-Fenzi or Palazzo Fenzi (now housing departments of University of Florence). After this work, Ricci, along with the quadraturista Giuseppe Tonelli, was commissioned by the Grand Duke Ferdinando de' Medici to decorate rooms in the Pitti Palace, where his Venus takes Leave from Adonis contains heavenly depictions that are airier and brighter than prior Florentine fresco series. These works gained him fame and requests from foreign lands and showed the rising influence of Venetian painting into other regions of Italy. He was to influence the Florentine Rococo fresco painter Giovanni Domenico Ferretti.

In 1708 he returned to Venice, completing a Madonna with the Child for San Giorgio Maggiore. In 1711, now painting alongside his nephew, the also well known Marco Ricci, he painted two canvases: Esther to Assuero and Moses saved from the Nile, for the Taverna Palace.

Travels to London and Paris

He ultimately accepted foreign patronage in London, when he was provided a £770 commission by Lord Burlington for eight canvases, to be completed by him and his nephew Marco Ricci, depicting mythological frolics: Cupid and Jove, Bacchus meets Ariadne, Diana and Nymphs, Bacchus and Ariadne, Venus and Cupid, Diane and Endymion, and a Cupid and Flora.

He also frescoed now lost works for Count of Portland and designed stained glass for the chapel of the Duke of Chandos at Cannons.

By the end of 1716, with his nephew, he left England for Paris, where he met Watteau and perhaps Fragonard, and submitted his Triumph of the Wisdom over Ignorance in order to gain admission to the Royal French Academy of Painting and Sculpture, which was granted on 18 May 1718. He returned to Venice in 1718 a wealthy man, and bought comfortable lodgings in the Old Procuratory of St. Mark. That same year, the Riccis decorated the villa of Giovanni Francesco Bembo in Belvedere, near Belluno.

Last years

From 1724-29, Ricci worked intensely for the Royal House of Savoy in Turin: In 1724 he paints the Rejection of Agar and the Silenus adores the Idols, in the 1725, Madonna in Gloria, in 1726, he completed in Turin the Susanna presented to Daniel and Moses causes water to gush from the rock; He was admitted in October 1727 to the Clementine Academy of Venice.

Ricci's style developed a following among other Venetian artists, influencing Francesco Polazzo, Gaspare Diziani, Francesco Migliori, Gaetano Zompini, and Francesco Fontebasso (1709-1769) (Wittkower p481). Sebastiano Ricci died in Venice on 15 May 1734. This was an incredibly unfortunate event to both the public and his family. He was certainly a magnificent artist whom had inspired the lives of many.

Critical assessments

"Ricci, leaning at first on the example of splendid art of the Veronese, made a new ideal prevail, one of clear and rich coloristic beauty: in this he paved the way for Tiepolo. The painting of figures of the Roccoco to Venice remains incomprehensible in its evolution without Ricci... Tiepolo germinated the work started by Ricci to such a richness and splendor that it leaves Ricci in the shadows... although Sebastiano is recognized in the combative role of forerunner "(Derschau).

"He is the master of a resurrected-fifteenth century style, whose painterly features are enriched with nervous express and, typically 17th century" (Rudolf Wittkower). Wittkower in his Anthology, contrasts the facile luminous style of Ricci with the darker, more emotional intense painting of Piazzetta. Like Tiepolo, Ricci was an international artist; Piazzetta was local.

"We perceive in him that synthesis of the baroque decorativeness and individualized and substantial painting, that we will see later again in Tiepolo. On one side the influence of Cortona, directed and indirect, and on the other the observant painting of the hermit Magnasco; more intense, substantial and freed academic impulses, the airy, shining influences become, to the open air, magical coves, as well as gloomy corners. A new synthesis that opened wide new painting horizons, even if the scene is not that of a ballet, it is felt like bing in the wonders of the color, in more vibrating, acute, agile accents "(Moschini).

"At the start of the Baroque..Venetians remained isolated from the outside…from the great ideas of the baroque painting… The Ricci are the first traveling Venetian painters... and succeed to inaugurate the so-called roccoco rooms of Pitti and Marucelli palaces."(Roberto Longhi).

Ricci "brought back in the Venetian tradition a wealth of chromatic expression resolved in a new vibrating brilliance brightness…by means of the intelligent interpretation of the Veronese chromatics and of the brushstrokes of a Magnasco-like touch, from the 16th century impediments, he takes unfashionable positions against "tenebrous styles", is against the new Piazzetta - Federico Bencovich. He supplied a valid painterly idiom for ... Tiepolo to use after his defection from the Piazzettism "(Pallucchini).

"Venice, still more than Naples, collects the Ricci inheritance of the prodigioso trade of Luca Giordano... Sebastiano throws again it, widens he then, refines it for the school of Sebastiano Mazzoni "(Argan)


    * Vescovo, (Innsbruck, Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum)
    * Mercy, (1686, New Church of the Capuchins, Parma)
    * Frescoes in collaboration with Bibiena, (1687, Sacristy of the Fallen in Church of Saint Segundo, Santo Segundo, Parma)
    * History of Paul III and Apotheosis of Paul III, (1687-1688, Farnese Palace, now Civic Pinacoteca of Piacenza)
    * Guardian Angel, (1694, Chiesa del Carmine, Pavia)
    * Frescoes, (1695, Church of Saint Bernardino alle Osse, Milan)
    * The Ecstasy of St. Francis (ca 1695–96, Tweed Museum of Art, Duluth, Minnesota, USA)
    * Frescoes, Basilica, (1697, Cathedral of Monza)
    * Communion of Saint Maria Egiziaca, (1698, Archconfraternity of the Duomo of the Santo Sindone, Milan)
    * Saint Gregory the Great intercedes with Madonna, (1700, Church of Santa Giustina, Padua)
    * Frescoes, (1700, Church of Santa Giustina, Padua)
    * Ascension, (1701, Basilica of the Santi Apostoli, Rome)
    * Allegory of the princely virtues, (1702, Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna)
    * Assumption of Virgin, (1702, Gemaldegalerie, Dresden)[2]
    * Crucifixion with Virgin, John the Evangelist and Carlo Borromeo, (1704, Uffizi, Florence)
    * Procolo, Peasant Detention, (1704, Duomo, Bergamo)
    * The Vision of St. Bruno, (1705) [3] [4]
    * Frescoes, (1706-1707, Palazzo Marucelli & Palazzo Pitti, Florence)
    * Madonna with the Child, (1708, Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice)[5]
    * Presentation of family of Darius to Alexander and Continence of Scipione, (ca 1709, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh)
    * Liberation of Saint Peter, (1710, Trescore Balneario, Bergamo, church of Saint Peter)(San Stae)[6]
    * Christ delivery the keys to Saint Peter and Call of Saint Peter, (1710, Church of Saint Pietro, Bergamo)
    * Assumption, (1710, Clusone, Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, Bergamo)
    * Esther before Ahasuerus, (1711, Palazzo Taverna, Rome)
    * Moses saved from the waters, (1711)
    * Sacred Family with Elizabeth and John, (1712, Royal Collections, London)
    * Frescoes for Burlington House (1712 - 1714, London)
          o Cupid in front of Jove
          o Encounter of Bacchus and Ariadne
          o Triumph of Galatea
    * Frescoes for Chiswick House (1712-14, London)
          o Bacchus and Ariadne(National Gallery)[7]
          o Venus and Cupid, Diana and Endymion, Cupid and Flora, andDiana and Nymphs
    * The Resurrection, (1714, Royal Hospital Chelsea, London)
    * Triumph of Wisdom over Ignorance, (1718, Louvre, Paris)
    * Head of Woman, (1718, fresco fragment, Civic Museum, Belluno)
    * Bathsheba in her Bath, (1724, Szépmuveszeti Muzeum, Budapest)
    * Gallery Sabauda, Turin
          o Repudiation of Agar (1724)
          o Solomon adores the idoli (1724)
          o Madonna in Gloria with archangel Gabriel and Saints Eusebio, Sebastiano & Rocco (1725)
          o Susanna in front of Daniel (1726)
          o Moses make water gush from the rock (1726)
          o Magdalen applies ointment to Christ's feet (1728)
    * Saint Gaetano heals the Sick, (1727, Brera Gallery, Milan)
    * Ecstasy of St. Teresa, (1727, Church of St Jerome Descalzi, Vicenza)
    * Royal Palace, Turin
          o Agar in the desert, 1727,
          o Jacob blesses the sons of Joseph, 1727,
          o Moses saved from waters, 1727,
          o Rebecca and Eliazer at the well, 1727,
    * Christ and the Centurions, (1729, Capodimonte Museum, Naples)
    * Christ in Cannae, (1729, Capodimonte Museum, Naples)
    * Communion and martyrdom of Saint Lucia, (1730, Church of San Lucia, Parma)
    * Immaculate Conception, (1730, , Church of San Vitale, Venice)
    * Madonna in Glory with Child and Angel Guardian, (1730, School of the Guardian Angel, Venice)
    * Prayer in the Garden, (1730, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)[8]
    * Self-portrait, (1731, Uffizi Gallery)
    * Pope Gregory the Great intercedes with Virgin 1731, church of Sant' Alessandro of the Cross, Bergamo)
    * Pope Gregorio the Great intercedes for souls in Purgatory, (1733, Saint Gervais, Paris)
    * Pope Pio V, Saints Thomas Acquinus, & Peter Martyr, (1733, Church of Gesuati, Venice)
    * Saint Francisco from resuscitates the child Paola, 1733, Church of Saint Rocco, Venice)
    * Saint Helen discovers the True Cross, (1733, Church of Saint Rocco)
    * Baldassarre and Ester before Ahasuerus, (1733, Quirinal Palace, Rome)
    * Assumption, (1734, Karlskirche, Vienna)


    * Free translation from Italian Wikipedia entry
    * Wittkower, Rudolf (1993). Art and Architecture Italy, 1600-1750. Penguin Books. pp. 480–82.
    * Aldo Rizzi, Sebastiano Ricci disegnatore, Electa - Milano 1975
    * Aldo Rizzi. Sebastiano Ricci, Electa - Milano 1989

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