(b. 1676, Belluno, d. 1730, Venezia)
Landscape with Watering Horsesc. 1720
Oil on canvas, 136 x 198 cm
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice
If Sebastiano Ricci can be called the father of Venetian Rococo, his nephew and collaborator, Marco, was the initiator of the new genre of landscape painting. Influenced by the examples of the Neapolitan landscape painters Mirco Spadaro and Salvator Rosa, by Claude Lorrain and by the Roman Viviano Codazzi, and inspired by loving observation of the natural setting of hills and valleys around his native Belluno, Ricci developed a romantic and heroic style of painting, which derives almost certainly from a familiarity with the drawings of Titian, the engravings of Domenico Campagnola, the works of Dutch and Flemish masters (seen during his stay in London 1708-10), with the imaginative works of Carlevaris and romantic drama of Alessandro Magnasco. Such eclecticism gives rise nevertheless to a faithful observation of nature, characterized by a breadth of atmosphere and a fluid light. This landscape is fine example of his skilful use of light to create intensely real effects. In the wide vistas given unity by Ricci's handling of atmosphere, the observation of detail has a refreshing naturalness and truth.