DOMENICO ROBERTI e SEBASTIANO RICCI
Novara, 1661 – Milan, 1742 e Belluno, 1659 – Venice, 1734
Architectural Capriccio with bust
oil on canvas, cm 44,5×58,5
These two canvases are capricci of Roman ruins with figures, typical of this painting genre. It is certainly a pendant pair, as can be seen from the complementary backdrops. Dario Succi, who has studied these paintings in depth, convincingly attributed the architectural part to Clemente Spero and the figures to Sebastiano Ricci. Sebastiano is renowned for being the man behind the revival of 18th-century Venetian painting and one of the greatest exponents of Rococo painting in Europe. He stood out for the innovative style he developed during his constant travels and was in fact in great demand among the Venetian aristocracy. He frescoed the palaces of all the most important families and also worked for the Hapsburg, Marucelli and Pitti families in Florence, as well as the English royal family in London. Clemente Spera was famous for his long and fruitful partnership with Alessandro Magnasco, with whom he worked on a number of occasions. His work with Sebastiano Ricci was more sporadic, but still well documented.
These two canvases undoubtedly showcase one of the finest landscapes by this pairing, revealing a perfect understanding between the two specialists. In terms of quality and scenic development, this pair of capricci can be dated during the most successful phase for both Clemente and Sebastian, at the beginning of the 18th century, in around 1706.