Built around 1740, the Ponte Nuovo was an important part of the project of modernisation of Naples' harbour promoted by Charles III Bourbon to accommodate smaller vessels. At the centre of the Ponte Nuovo one can see the Immacolatella, the small, old red building at the water's edge which today is the only remnant of old Naples still standing at the port. It was, in fact, the old quarantine station, built to the plans of Domenico Antonio Vaccaro, which takes its name from the sculpture of the Immaculate Virgin above the facade, sculpted by Francesco Pagano.
The dating of this painting can be roughly established with reference to a painting by Tommaso Ruiz of Naples harbour, dated to 1751 (Christie's, Rome, 6 December 2001, lot 325). Ruiz's canvas does not include the Immacolatella, but does include an equestrian portrait of Charles III, which was moved before 1759, and is included in the present work, but not in other versions of the composition, such as the one in a private collection in Washington (see N. Spinosa and L. di Mauro, Vedute napoletane del Settecento, Naples, 1993, pp. 76 and 194, pl. 48, no. 87). This present work is therefore one of the first versions of the subject executed by the artist, which it is possible to date to around 1755.
Gabriele Ricciardelli is believed to have been a pupil of Nicola Bonito and Jan Frans van Bloemen. He was employed by the Bourbon court at Portici and provided several overdoors for the Palazzo Reale in Naples. Ricciardelli was exceptional among the Neapolitan view painters in that he spent part of his career in Ireland (Dublin 1753-1759) and England (1777). His four vedute of Naples, engraved by Antonio Cardon in 1765, found great success with the English nobility.