Born 1659, Died 1734
One of the principal figures in the revival of Venetian painting in the 1700 s, Sebastiano Ricci came from a noted family of artists. After formal artistic training in Venice, he traveled widely, working in Vienna, London, and Paris. His dramatic, sumptuous, and vivid style recalled the art of Paolo Veronese and appealed to royal and ecclesiastical patrons across Europe. Late in his career, Sebastiano often collaborated with his nephew Marco Ricci.
Even while Sebastiano ‘s career was flourishing, he was developing a reputation for his amorous exploits and run – ins with the law. Sebastiano was a lusty man, inclinable to fat, one contemporary noted, and he was as famous for his excessive gastronomical habits, sexual exploits, and countless imprisonments as for his art. In Venice he made Maddalena van der Meer pregnant and then tried to poison her. She discovered his intention and had him imprisoned. With the help of a sympathetic nobleman, Sebastiano was freed and fled to Bologna, where a papal official forced him to marry. The scandal, however, had little impact on his success. Cardinal Antonio Pignatelli, who later became Pope Innocent XII, performed the nuptials and continued to commission paintings from Sebastiano.