Trinity Fine Art Offers Ricci’s Lapiths and Centaurs at TEFAF

Posted in Art Market by Editor on March 2, 2020

Sebastiano Ricci, The Battle of the Lapiths and the Centaurs, early eighteenth century, oil on canvas, 63 × 76 cm (Offered at TEFAF Maastricht 2020 by Trinity Fine Art for approximately one million euros).

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From the press release, via Art Daily (28 February 2020). . .

One of the highlights of TEFAF Maastricht 2020 (7–15 March) will be an extremely rare work by Sebastiano Ricci: The Battle of the Lapiths and the Centaurs, which has been rediscovered after being lost for 60 years. Sebastiano Ricci (1659–1734) revitalised Venetian painting at the beginning of the eighteenth century, and his work marked the transition between the Baroque and Rococo styles. He took the rich colours and luminosity of Veronese and further transformed it by his looser, more airy and spontaneously decorative style always shot through with a clear Venetian light, all traits he passed down in turn to Tiepolo. Ricci was widely travelled, since as one of the main exponents of the Rococo style he was called to many European courts that wished to draw on his talents. He was in France—where he became a close friend of Watteau—in Austria—where he was summoned by Emperor Joseph I to decorate the palace of Schönbrunn, and in England—where he executed a series of large canvases for the newly constructed Burlington House and also sold works to King George III.

Ricci’s work is exceptionally rare on the art market, since his best paintings—allegorical and biblical paintings and frescos of significant dimensions—are already contained in public collections, many of them since the eighteenth century. The works he made for Lord Burlington are now in the Royal Academy, London, and those acquired by King George III are at the Royal Collection, London. Those in the Hermitage have been there since the eighteenth century as have those in the Liechtenstein collection, acquired in 1819; and then there are the many frescos and ceilings in Italian palazzi and churches.

The present monumental work can be dated to the early eighteenth century at which time Ricci’s work displayed a close affinity with that of the Genoese painter, Alessandro Magnasco. It shows Ricci at the height of his powers of composition and as a colourist in this depiction of the story of the Lapiths and Centaurs taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which was a popular choice from the Renaissance onwards for both artists and their humanist patrons since it symbolised both the victory of civilisation over barbarity and intellect triumphing over lust. It also has the added interest of being a collaborative work between Sebastiano and Marco Ricci, the former’s nephew, who is credited with executing many of the background details such as architectural elements and trees.

This work is to be offered by Trinity Fine Art at TEFAF Maastricht 2020, with an asking price of around one million euros. Established in 1984, Trinity Fine Art has earned a reputation as a leading dealer and consultant, offering exceptional works of art and specialising in master paintings, sculpture, and works of art from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century. Its clients include many of the world’s major museums as well as most leading private collections.

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