Sebastiano Ricci at Christopher Bishop Fine Art | MCM – Martin Cid Magazine | Candle Made Easy

NEW YORK — Christopher Bishop Fine Art is exhibiting a lost 18th-century work of artth Century by Italian master Sebastiano Ricci 16 September – 15 October 2022. The painting titled Diana and Endymioncaused quite a stir when it made its debut at the prestigious art fair TEFAF Maastricht, Netherlands, June 25-30, 2022. This fall’s exhibition at Christopher Bishop Fine Art, 1046 Madison Avenue, marks the first time the work will be shown in New York.

Christopher Bishop discovered the previously unknown painting by Italian artist Sebastiano Ricci (1659-1734), a master who revived Venetian painting and bridged the gap between the Baroque 17th and 18th centuriesth century and the classical 18th Century. Lost for two centuries Diana and Endymion (ca. 1720) is exceptionally rare to find on the market, as Ricci’s work has been intensively collected for centuries and most of his important paintings are in public collections.

“Ricci contributes to the transition from 17th-century Tenebrism to the spiritual solarity of the next century and to the ‘Veronese Revival’ that will inspire and enlighten the work of all subsequent Venetian painters, including Tiepolo,” said Annalisa Scarpa, author of the catalog raisonné to Sebastiano Ricci.

The lush painting Diana and Endymion based on Greco-Roman mythology, it depicts Diana, goddess of the moon, gazing at the mortal Endymion, a young shepherd fallen into an eternal sleep. Full of theatricality, drama and sexual tension, the work is an explosion of color and flesh that turns on its head common assumptions about Old Master paintings.

Christopher Bishop first spotted the painting at an online auction held by a Florida-based auction house in the midst of the pandemic. Based on an instinct about the quality of the painting, Bishop bid well above expectations for the painting at $200,000. Bishop had to wait for the painting to arrive in a Florida van overnight to see if he was right. On the street in Lower Manhattan, he had his answer: A magnificent painting emerged from a blue moving blanket. The movers asked if he wanted the frame or if they should throw it away. “What frame?” Bishop asked. “Magically, out of the darkness, came the original Venetian frame, which wasn’t even photographed or mentioned in the catalogue,” explained Bishop. “I told them, ‘No, no, don’t throw that away. This is proof of the original owner. It’s priceless.’”

“The unknown work was in a family collection in Florida,” Bishop said. “Our research found the painting in the early 19th centuryth-century auction catalogs in London and Dublin with a paired painting, the death of Orpheus. The dimensions are exactly the same,” noted Bishop. “The work is a reinterpretation of a large vertical painting made by Ricci in 1713 for Burlington House, London, now in Chiswick House. This new Ricci is even better than the work done for the Earl of Burlington. It is a true masterpiece”

Endymion’s light-sculpted body is a study in chiaroscuro, the play of light and shadow. Diana is the true picture of a woman who is deeply in love and is taken aback by the beauty of this Adonis in front of her. The painting focuses on the shocking vermilion of Endymion’s cloak contrasting with the subtle aquamarine of Diana’s cloak and the deep green of her robes. Diana and Endymion’s red lanyards emphasize the diagonals of Ricci’s composition and emphasize the growing sexual tension between the two figures. “The deep red of the lanyards, the dog’s collar, and Endymion’s discarded cloak are emblematic of the lifeblood of work flowing through the painting. Ricci understood the power of Ferrari red long before Ferrari did,” noted Bishop.

“When I saw the glitter of vermilion and gold on the dog’s red collar, I knew we were dealing with a first-class master. The dog’s pure white, floppy ear, hooked nose – I think that’s undoubtedly Ricci’s dog,” Bishop said. “It’s the same dog that appears in half a dozen of his paintings, including this one Diana and her dog in the Getty Museum. It’s better than a signature, it’s a signature in brushstrokes.”

Ricci worked for the most important collectors of the English aristocracy of the time. “This was a special commission for a very important person with great taste. Imagine entering her salon in 1720 – the Diana and Endymion on the one hand: tragic love begins. The Death of Orpheus, his lost counterpart or pair picture, on the other hand: the violent end of love. How epic and beautiful,” added Bishop.

“One detail of the painting particularly strikes me: the total and absolute concentration of the gaze on the slumbering youth who is dozing in his sleep. It’s as if an imminent tragedy focuses the spirits of all three: the goddess, cupid and the dog,” Scarpa said. “This is a meaningful and compelling moment that draws our attention as active viewers to the sleeping character who will never awaken due to the goddess’ magic enabled by her father Zeus. The effect is to create an uncanny empathy between all the actors in the story and the viewer. We are witnesses to a myth in which no one suffers, but all live in youthful eternity.”

The painting is accompanied by a catalog entitled Love, Loss and Immortality: Diana and Endymion by Sebastiano Ricciwhich explores Ricci’s sources of inspiration, from contemporary poetry, music and opera to sculptural works by Michelangelo and Bernini.

ABOUT CHRISTOPHER BISHOP FINE ART
Christopher Bishop Fine Art specializes in 15th-century drawings and paintingsth until early 20sth Century. Known for a scholarly approach to evaluating, presenting and authenticating works by Old Masters, as well as a wide range of works on paper, the gallery seeks to present new ways of thinking about and collecting Old Masters and modern works on paper. Located at 1046 Madison Avenue, East 80th Street in New York City, the gallery participates in Master Drawings New York; The Salon du Dessin, Paris; and October Art Week, New York. Visit christopherbishopfineart.com for more information.

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