RICCI, Marco
(b. 1676, Belluno, d. 1729, Venezia)

A Courtyard with an Equestrian Statue

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Drawing
Royal Collection, Windsor

Marco Ricci, was active as a stage designer already in 1708. It was in 1718 that Ricci succeeded Canaletto and his father as a stage designer at the famed Venetian theatre of Sant'Angelo. Marco Ricci's designs are fundamentally different from those of the Bibiena family, Bolognese designers in great demand at the time, whose work is characterized by complicated spatial constructions and generally excessive ornamentation. Inspired by the work of the Sicilian architect and stage designer Filippo Juvarra, Ricci invented lucid park views and imaginary harbours, as well as decors reminiscent of actual villas and palaces with a decidedly picturesque effect. Not only the arrangement but also the lighting of these drawings is surprisingly similar to Canaletto's early vedute. In this regard we should not forget that the stage design of Juvarra and Marco Ricci is related to the seventeenth-century architectural painting of, for instance, Codazzi, which influenced Canaletto.

This design by Ricci with a square on a harbour, in which the heavy mass of a gate on the left is balanced by a narrow section of a portico on the right recalls Codazzi's Campo Vaccino while at the same time prefiguring an early Canaletto painting at Windsor Castle.