Italian school of the early eighteenth century, Capriccio attributed to Sebastiano Ricci (1659-1734) and workshop.
Canvas of 126 cm by 97 cm
Very beautiful Italian frame of 145 cm by 111 cm.
Our canvas represents the end of a palace surrounded by columns with balconies and statues, overlooking a park decorated with a rudented pilaster arch and fluted columns adorned with Corinthian capitals.
A man fills his hat with a stream of water from the fountain, under the eyes of a villager sitting on the steps. On the left in the foreground, in the shadows, a wretch with a battered hat, a staff on his shoulder, seems to be waiting for him, pointing to his hand.
Sebastiano Ricci, unlike his nephew Marco Ricci, is not well known for his capricci (architectural whims), he usually uses them in the background of a composition with purpose of decorations but he rarely paints them as the main subject of the composition.
However, we know some of them including a large canvas sold € 58,000 in 2006 by Porro & C in Milan. We find in the two painters crossed inspirations in particular, and with regard to our painting, in the way of representing the statuary, the cornices, the lintaux ...
Sebastiano Ricci (1659-1734)
Marco Ricci's uncle, he is one of the most important personalities of the Venetian eighteenth century and one of the initiators of rococo painting, cheerful and clear, mainly decorative genre, which imposes itself in the early eighteenth century. in the entire Europe.
After studying in Venice with Mazzoni and Cervelli, he went to Bologna near Del Sole. Called to Parma by Duke Ranuccio Farnese, he left there works (Scenes of Roman history) with a clear Bolognese spirit. In 1685-1687, he frescoed the oratory of Madonna del Serraglio, near Parma; he shows himself to be associated with elegant and mannered forms, of classicizing type, but his velvety and nuanced color denounces a clear reminder of Correggio. It is then in Rome, where the knowledge of the great decorators, Pietro da Cortona and Baciccio, plays an essential role in its evolution; its forms are more fluid and more flexible (ceiling of the sacristy of S. Apostoli).
After a stay in Milan, Ricci returned to Veneto in the early eighteenth century. Its culture has expanded, updated, "modernized". It was at this time that he acquired the fundamental knowledge of Veronese's painting, which led him to lighten the colors. Some of the brightly colored canvases, preserved at the University of Parma, date from this period. Ricci's painting evolves; Rococo and Venetian tradition coexist in the ceilings of S. Marziale in Venice, prior to 1705. The decoration in Florence (1706-1707) of the Maruccelli Palace (fresco: Apotheosis of Hercules) and the Pitti Palace (Diana and Actaeon) sketch at the Musée d'Orléans) marks a new stage in Sebastiano Ricci's career. Thanks to the rococo rhythm of the forms, the narrative ease and the lightness of the touch, it now asserts a decorative trend.
In 1708 he painted the Madonna with saints for the church S. Giorgio Maggiore in Venice; a quick, sparkling and infinitely light brush stroke breaks the shape; the chromatic orchestration becomes clear and limpid. Ricci continues this evolution; the delicately rocky aspect of his culture is becoming clearer, while he is getting closer and closer to Veronese.
1712 and 1716, he is in London with his nephew Marco. In his Burlington House (formerly Royal Academy) decoration, his pictorial taste is even more striking; the forms seem to dissolve in a moving atmosphere. He then goes to Paris v. 1716, is received at the Academy with the painting on the theme of the Allegory of France (Louvre), then returns to Venice definitively.
Between 1726 and 1734, Sebastiano Ricci executed a series of paintings for the consul Smith (at Hampton Court). Among his last works, we can also mention his Saint Gregory to S. Alessandro della Croce in Bergamo, the last stage of the evolution of a picturesque and totally free language where the forms are dying in an almost liquid atmosphere and where the color, with fast and slippery brush strokes, seems to want to hold back the rays of the lunar light. An exhibition was dedicated to Sebastiano Ricci (Udine) in 1989.