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Permanent Collection

Pietro Ricchi - 1600–1700

(Lucca, 1606 – Udine, 1675)

Born 1606 in Lucca, died 1675 in Udine. He was a pupil of Domenico Passignano in Florence and Guido Reni in Bologna. He often moved from one place to another, first from Rome to Genoa, then to Lyon and Paris and later to Milan, Brescia and Trento. In 1657 he came to the Veneto and worked in Padua, Venice and Udine. Ricchi’s style is fairly heterogeneous and shows elements of late Mannerism together with reminiscences of Lombard and Venetian painting. Beside distinctly Baroque pictures in dark and sombre tones Ricchi also painted Arcadian scenes, which he modelled after Guido Reni.

Lit.: Seicento, Vol. I-II, Milano 1989 (biogr. Elvio Mich); Il Madruzzo e l'Europa: 1539-1658: I principi vescovi di Trento tra Papato e Impero, Milano, Firenze e Provincia autonoma di Trento, Trento 1993, pp. 774-775 [ex. cat.].

From Mannerism to Baroque

Although imported early-Baroque works prevailed in this period and those by itinerant artists, the 17th century paved the way for the future. The political circumstances in the region were relatively stabilized in spite of the Thirty Year War and the patronage gradually grew stronger. The arrival of the Jesuits in Ljubljana, the activity of the polymath Johann Weichard Valvasor, particularly his graphic workshop at Bogenšperk/Wagensperg Castle, and the foundation of the Academia operosorum at the end of the century were the key events of the time. 

Characteristic of sculptural production on the Slovenian territory in the 17th century were the so-called “golden altars”. As a rule, these were gilded and polychrome carved wooden retables with rich ornamentation, first with crustaceous patterns which turned into vine and grapes that covered architectural framework until the achantus foliage took over and obliterated architectural structure completely. The making of golden altars included several branches of fine arts: prints, carving, gilding, painting. Religious painting of the first half of the century still contains Mannerist elements; in the second half also secular motifs became more numerous, particularly genre scenes and aristocratic portraits. The artworks mainly echo northern early-Baroque influences. 

Noteworthy among the newcomers who settled in Carniola with their workshops were the painter and gilder Hans Georg Geiger von Geigerfeld in the mid-century, who had moved to Carniola from the region of the Central Alps, and the Fleming Almanach in the third quarter of the 17th century, known only by his nickname, who worked here only for a few years. The extraordinary productivity and skills of the latter are evidenced by his rare surviving works, mentions in Valvasor’s books, and aristocratic probate inventories.