Sebastiano Ricci (Belluno 1659-1734 Venice)
Sebastiano Ricci (Belluno 1659-1734 Venice)

The Temptation of Christ in the Wilderness

Sebastiano Ricci (Belluno 1659-1734 Venice)
The Temptation of Christ in the Wilderness
oil on canvas
34 x 29 3/8 in. (86.3 x 74.5 cm.)
Giacomo Boschieri, Montebelluna, Treviso, since 1929, and until at least 1976.
W. Arslan, ‘Appunti su Magnasco, Sebastiano e Marco Ricci’, Bolletino dell’Arte, XXVI, 1932, p. 218.
M. Goering, ‘Sebastiano Ricci’, Thieme-Becker, Leipzig, 1934, p. 254.
J. Daniels, Sebastiano Ricci, Sussex, 1976, p. 118, no. 426.
J. Daniels, Sebastiano Ricci. L’opera complete, Milan, 1976, p. 124, n. 402.
A. Scarpa, Sebastiano Ricci, Milan, 2006, p. 327 no. 524, ill. p. 432 no. 149.
Venice, Palazzo delle Biennali, Il Settecento Italiano, 1929, room 15, no. 7a, as 'Gesu' e il mendicante'.

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Lot Essay

The present lot has been the subject of debate as to whether it represents Christ and the Beggar or the Temptation of Christ. However the goat-like horns seen on the figure to the left identify it as the devil, suggesting the subject is the Temptation in the Wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Also under discussion is whether, as proposed by Arslan (op.cit.), the background was painted by Marco Ricci, who was Sebastiano’s brother and specialized in landscapes.
The painting dates to the first quarter of the 18th Century and can be compared both in style and date to the Temptation of Christ in the Narodni Gallery, Prague. A drawing of the same subject in the Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice (see A. Rizzi, Sebastiano Ricci disegnatore, Udine exhibition catalogue, Milan, 1975, n. 51), appears to be a study for the present lot.

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