(b. 1659, Belluno, d. 1734, Venezia)
Dream of Aesculapiusc. 1710
Oil on canvas, 62 x 101 cm
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice
After a long period of study of the greatest figures of late seventeenth century Italian painting, from Pietro da Cortona and Baciccio in Rome to the Carracci in Bologna, Luca Giordano in Florence and Magnasco in Milan, Sebastiano Ricci achieved a voice of his own characterized by a sparklingly fluent Rococo brilliance which was to gain the artist acceptance in London (1712-1716), and Paris (1716). Especially in paintings of small dimensions Sebastiano Ricci freed himself from all trace of his complex artistic training. Thus in the Dream of Aesculapius every detail of the bed chamber is rendered in the dancing rhythm of his line and the free and easy pictorial style. In the subdued glow of the setting, the scene seems like an animated ballet, fixed for ever in the wonder of bright, spirited colour.