Anecdotes of Painting in England: With Some Account of the Principal Artists - Vol. 2

By Horace Walpole | Go to book overview
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the Academy. He painted besides many small pieces of history before he left England, 1 whither he returned in 1718, but quitted it again in 1721, and entered into the service of the Elector Palatine. With him arrived



who painted ruins in oil, and better in water-colours, and land-storms. He and Pelegrini disagreeing, Marco went to Venice, and persuaded his uncle to come over, Sebastian Ricci, 2 who had been Pelegrini's master, and who was soon preferred to the disciple. Ricci's works are still admired, though there is little excellence in them ; his colouring is chalky, and without force. He painted the chapel at Bulstrode 3 for the Duke of Portland, and in the Last Supper has introduced his own portrait in a modern habit. At Burlington-house the hall and some ceilings are by him, and a piece of ruins in the manner of Viviano. Ricci and Cassini, and another painter here at that time, 4 passed off several of their own compositions as the works of greater masters. 5 Sebastian painted the altar-piece in the chapel of Chelsea-college; but left England on finding it was deter-

When the famous system of Mr. Law's was set on foot in France, the directors, as ostentatious as their apes, the South-Sea Company, purchased the Hôtel de Nevers, and began to decorate it in the most pompous manner. Pelegrini was invited from England to paint the ceiling of the principal gallery, and wrote a description of his work—all that now remains of it ; for the system burst, and the king purchasing the visionary palace, it was converted into the Royal Library, and Pelegrini's labours demolished. France, the heathen gods, the river of Mississippi, religion, and all the virtues, and half the vices, as allegoric personages, with which the flatterers of the former reign had fatigued the eyes of the public, were here again reassembled ; and avarice, and prodigality, and imposture, were perfumed out of the same censers with which ambition, and vain-glory, and superstition, had been made drunk before. Pelegrini's account of that work may be seen in L'Histoire des Premiers Peintres du Roi, vol. ii. p. 122.
SEBASTIANO RICCI is much commended by Lanzi. At Venice was published, 4to. 1749, Vite di due celebri Pittori, Carlo Cignani e Sebastiano Ricci, colla descrizione di loro opere.—D.
A staircase and ceiling at Norfolk-house.—D.
Sebastian Ricci excelled particularly in imitations of Paul Veronese, many of which he sold for originals; and once even deceived La Fosse. When the latter was convinced of the imposition, he gave this severe but just reprimand to Sebastian : " For the future," said he, " take my advice, paint nothing but Paul Veroneses, and no more Riccis."—V. Life of Mignard, in L'Histoire des Premiers Peintres du Roi, p. 152.
The drawing of the figure of our Saviour in his Ascension is considered as being particularly correct and beautiful.—D.


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Anecdotes of Painting in England: With Some Account of the Principal Artists - Vol. 2
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