RICCI, Sebastiano
(b. 1659, Belluno, d. 1734, Venezia)

Hercules and Cacus

Palazzo Marucelli-Fenzi, Florence

The largest room on the ground floor is the Sala d'Ercole, a hall with two window bays. It has three entrances and presents an elaborate painted decoration extending across all four walls and the entire ceiling. The decoration was executed with the collaboration of Giuseppe Tonelli (1668-1732), one of the best known quadratura painters in Florence. The pictorial program contains the Labours and Apotheosis of Hercules.

A simple, rhythmic arrangement of columns, backed by a gilt ground, structures all four walls in the room. On three sides it is interrupted by a large, arched centre opening. The compositions for these imaginary openings are three of Hercules's more significant labours. Prominent on the end wall is the depiction of the young Hercules at the Crossroads between Vice and Virtue, the other two openings contains Hercules and Cacus, and Hercules and Nessus. On the window wall a painted sculpture depicting Hercules and Antheus can be found.

In the Sala d'Ercole Ricci's fluid, elegant, and atmospheric style attains a brilliance and airiness that set him apart from all his famous contemporaries, and has been shown to anticipate features of Rococo painting.

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