Ricci Exhibition to Mark His 350th Birthday

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on June 27, 2010

Sebastiano Ricci: Il trionfo dell’invenzione nel Settecento veneziano
Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice, 24 April — 11 July 2010

This exhibition is the principal event in the programme of celebrations for the 350th anniversary of the birth of Sebastiano Ricci, promoted by the Veneto Region and the Giorgio Cini Foundation through a specially created regional committee. On show will be paintings, sculptures and drawings connected to the problematic issue of the bozzetto (models for sculptures, and painted sketches and drawings for larger works). The exhibition will, thus, provide an opportunity to explore an original aspect of the multifaceted talent of the artist from Belluno. Specialist studies agree in attributing a key role to Sebastiano Ricci as a precursor and modern interpreter of the Rococo in Italy and the rest of Europe. In fact, thanks to his wide-ranging activities in European courts and centres of culture, he was able to develop his skills and an accomplished virtuoso language that catered to
changes in taste in the early 18th century.

Catalogue edited by Giuseppe Pavanello ISBN: 9788831706377, $65

The main section of the exhibition will be dedicated to the art of the bozzetto and the modelletto (an initial small version of a proposed large work for presentation to patrons), in which Sebastiano Ricci was not only a supreme master, but also an ingenious innovator. Sebastiano’s letter to Giacomo Tassi of 14 November 1731 is usually considered to mark the starting point for a reversal of values that saw the aesthetic preeminence of the work of art pass from its “finished” version, conceived for public display, to the bozzetto, the preliminary work usually destined to remain in the studio. Sebastiano’s last sentence in the letter addressed to his patron – “moreover, this small work is the original and the altarpiece is the copy” – ushered in a view that was eventually so successful that it even influenced most 20th-century critics.

The exhibition will also provide the opportunity for comparisons with the bozzetti of other major artists in the Venetian school. These artists include Antonio Pellegrini, the young Giambattista Tiepolo, Gaspare Diziani, Giambattista Pittoni and Jacopo Amigoni. There will also be a special focus on Ricci’s graphic works, now mainly kept in the Drawing and Prints Cabinet of the Accademia, Venice, and in the royal collections of Windsor Castle. Ricci’s swirling exploratory graphic technique lends itself to precise comparisons with his own modelletti and with the work of the sculptor Giovanni Maria Morlaiter. In fact, the exhibition will also include some terracotta models and bozzetti from the workshop “remainders” of Giovanni Maria Morlaiter – Sebastiano Ricci’s alter ego in sculpture – now in storage in the Ca’ Rezzonico Museum of Eighteenth-Century Venetian Art, Venice.

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