(b. 1659, Belluno, d. 1734, Venezia)
Altar of St Gregory the Great-
Oil on canvas
Basilica di Santa Giustina, Padua
Ricci was an exuberant personality, internationally renowned and an archetypal "traveling" painter. After training in the Veneto, Ricci spent some time in Emilia (Bologna, Parma and Piacenza). This proved crucial to his development as his style was influenced by the local classicism, deepened when Ricci made a trip to Rome, where Annibale Carraci's frescos in Palazzo Farnese deeply moved him. After a brief trip to Vienna, Ricci went back to Venice in 1708, where his art changed. His Altarpiece of St Gregory the Great was a deliberate homage to Paolo Veronese and inaugurated a totally new era in eighteenth-century Venetian painting, trying to revive the glories of its Renaissance. Compared to his earlier works, his art was now remarkably free in composition and brushwork. This new style of painting was an immediate success. By 1711 Sebastiano had joined his nephew Marco Ricci in London where he remained for five years, working for many great noblemen.