(b. 1659, Belluno, d. 1734, Venezia)
The Liberation of St Peter1722
Oil on canvas
San Stae, Venice
This sweeping, dynamic composition was part of the most important cycle of canvases commissioned in Venice in the first part of the eighteenth century. The cycle consisted of twelve pictures destined for the presbytery of the church of San Stae (its full name is Sant'Eustachio and it overlooks the first section of the Grand Canal). Each picture was commissioned from a different artist, thus bringing them together at the same time as provoking comparisons between their various styles. Apart from Ricci, the group comprised among other major geniuses of Venetian painting in the eighteenth century, Piazzetta, Pittoni, and Giambattista Tiepolo. Thanks to these commissions San Stae became the most important experimental setting for Venetian art in the early part of the century.