The Baptism of Christ

Artist: Sebastiano Ricci (Italian, Belluno 1659–1734 Venice)

Date: ca. 1713–14

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 26 x 40 in. (66 x 101.6 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, Rogers and Gwynne Andrews Funds, and Gift of Jane L. Melville, by exchange, 1981

Accession Number: 1981.186


An artist of international reputation, Ricci left Italy for England in 1711 or 1712. This is the finest of his 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. In 1733 George Vertue praised Ricci's 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."