Sebastiano Ricci (Italian, Venetian, 16591734)
Oil on canvas; 26 x 40 in. (66 x 101.6 cm)
Inscribed (on cartouche at top of arch): HIC EST FILLIVS / MEVS DILECTV[S] / LVC CAPUT III (This is my beloved Son. Luke 3 [actually Matthew 3:17])
Purchase, Rogers and Gwynne Andrews Funds, and Gift of Jane L. Melville, by exchange, 1981 (1981.186)
This is the finest of three oil sketches for the decoration (destroyed) of a wall of the Duke of Portland's chapel at Bulstrode House, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire. The facing wall showed the Last Supper, and on the ceiling was the Ascension.
An artist of international reputation, Ricci left Italy for England in 1711 or 1712. In 1733, George Vertue praised his work in the chapel: "the whole a noble, free invention [with] great force of lights and shade, with variety and freedom in the composition of the parts."