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River landscape with wayfarers
 
18th Century
Marco RICCI
River landscape with wayfarers
[Paesaggio]
Unknown
Oil on parchment
31.5 x 46.5 cm  [HxW]
Private Collection
 

These two landscapes, which are of identical size, technique and style, were conceived right from the start as companion works. They belong to the mature phase of Marco Ricci’s work, when his predilection for experimenting new pictorial techniques led him to prefer tempera, either with oil — as in this case — or alone and, rather than traditional canvas, using kidskin or even parchment as the support.

The exceptional breadth and openness of the landscape, despite the small size of the paintings, is typical of Marco’s work: these were scenes taken “from life” in the Veneto countryside, with little towns and humble villages on the hilltops, with little waterways and lakes. As in other, similar works, the background consists of bluish views of the foothills of the Alps receding into the distance. The late date of the works and the particular technique used by the painter are confirmed by a stylistic comparison with other works by Marco made after he returned from his long stay in England. For example, the imposing rock reflected in the lake in the first landscape recalls a very similar scene in the Countryside Views which were once in the Francesca Nicolis collection in Belluno, while the herds in the distance, in the same painting, reappear in a similar manner in many other works of this period, such as in the tempera on kidskin Landscape with Washerwomen and Straw Hut in a private collection in England. The typically elongated figures, built up with the tip of the brush, with bright touches where they are lit up by the sunlight, also belong the mature period of Ricci’s work.

Filippo Pedrocco

 
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