Sebastiano Ricci was one of the key figures involved in the transition of Venetian (and indeed European) painting from full-blown baroque to elegant and airy rococo.

His strongest ties were with the Venetian sixteenth century, above all with Veronese. It is this tradition which lies behind this Christ Healing the Blind Man. The subject of this painting illustrates the episode when Christ gives sight to a blind man at the Pool of Siloam (envisaged by Ricci as a steaming hot spring), with the Apostles and a group of sceptical Pharisees looking on. Brilliantly coloured and (for Ricci) highly finished, the grand conception of the scene, with its balanced figure groupings, monumental architecture and wealth of incidental detail, belies the picture's small scale. Ricci is an artist whose work displays a great range of quality as well as of style, but this exquisite Christ Healing the Blind Man shows him at his very best. This work was acquired with assistance from the Wolfson Foundation.


Dr Richard Mead; John, 4th Duke of Bedford; Thomas Hammersely; Jm & M Smith; Edmund Smith; Private collection, Bavaria; Sotheby's, 11/12/91; Whitfield Fine Art Ltd.

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