Sebastiano Ricci (1659 - 1734)
RA Collection: People and Organisations
Sebastiano Ricci was born in Belluno, Italy in 1659. At the age of 12 he moved to Venice, where he was apprenticed to the Milanese artist Federico Cervelli. In 1681 Ricci left Venice for Bologna – he had briefly been imprisoned for trying to poison a woman he had made pregnant, but was released following the intervention of a noble supporter. He remained in Bologna until 1685, and over the next twenty years worked in several other Italian cities including Parma, Rome, Milan, Venice again, and Florence.
Ricci had already spent time in Vienna executing a ceiling painting for the Schloss Schönbrun before he came to England either 1711 or early 1712 in the hope of being commissioned to paint the dome of St. Paul’s. Sir James Thornhill won this commission but Juliana, Dowager Countess of Burlington, (mother of the 3rd Earl of Burlington) was quick to employ Sebastiano in the decoration of Burlington House in about 1713. He executed four paintings on the theme of the triumph of love.
Ricci stayed in England for four years, during which time he also painted the Resurrection for the chapel ceiling of the Chelsea Royal Hospital. In 1716 the artist and his nephew Marco (also an artist, and a frequent collaborator) returned to Venice via Paris, where the Riccis were both admitted to the Académie de France and Sebastiano submitted an Allegory of France as his morceau de reception (similar to a Diploma Work).
Returning to Venice as an internationally celebrated artist, Ricci settled in a grand apartment and executed commissions including mosaic designs for Venice’s famous San Marco cathedral, and important altarpieces for Venetian churches. A significant part of Ricci’s work consisted of religious paintings, but he is chiefly remembered for his decorative paintings drawings upon classical mythology, which bridge the late Baroque and the Rococo style of Watteau and Fragonard.
The Architecture Of A. Palladio; In Four Books. Containing, A short Treatise of the Five Orders, and the most necessary Observations concerning all sorts of Building, As Also The different Construction of Private and Publick Houses, High-Ways, Bridges, Market-Places, Xystes, and Temples, with their Plans, Sections, and Uprights. To which are added several Notes and Observations made by Inigo Jones, never printed before. Revis'd, Design'd, and Publish'd By Giacomo Leoni, a Venetian; Architect to his most Serene Highness, the Elector Palatine. Translated from the Italian Original. - London:: [-1720]
The Architecture Of A. Palladio; In Four Books. Containing A short Treatise of the Five Orders, and the most necessary Observations concerning all sorts of Building: As Also The different Construction of Private and Publick Houses, High-Ways, Bridges, Market-Places, Xystes, and Temples, with their Plans, Sections, and Uprights. Revis'd, Design'd, and Publish'd by Giacomo Leoni, a Venetian, Architect to His Most Serene Highness, the Late Elector Palatine. Translated from the Italian Original. The Third Edition, Corrected. With Notes and Remarks of Inigo Jones: Now first taken from his Original Manuscript in Worcester College Library, Oxford. And Also, An Appendix, containing the Antiquities of Rome. Written by A. Palladio. And a Discourse of the Fires of the Ancients. Never before Translated. In Two Volumes. - London:: 
Descrizione De' Cartoni Disegnati Da Carlo Cignani, E De' Quadri Dipinti Da Sebastiano Ricci Posseduti Dal Signor Giuseppe Smith Console Della Gran Bretagna Appresso la Sereniss. Repubblica di Venezia, Con Un Compendio Delle Vite Dei Due Celebri Professori. - In Venezia,