Arturo Ricci

(1854 - 1919)

Arturo Ricci was born in Florence 19th April 1854. He studied in Florence under Tito Conti (1842-1924), a painter of genre renowned for “… the grace of his figures, precision of drawing and strength of his colours”, Ricci was to surpass his master in all facets of his work.

Painting figurative subjects, genre scenes and scenes from family life, Ricci soon established himself as one of the foremost artists in Europe in the field of historical costume genre. Fellow artists in this specific field included Vittorio Reggianini born 1858 in Modena, and Charles Frederick Soulacroix (1825-1879) in Paris. Historical genre, most particularly eighteenth century subjects, were of enormous appeal to collectors throughout Europe and the United States, harking back to what was perceived as a golden age of elegance, sophistication, and taste, prior to the harsh realities of the Industrial Revolution. It was of course this revolution in industry, manufacturing and commerce that created the wealthy classes that collected these very paintings.

Ricci himself specialised in anecdotal scenes of elegant family life, a world of rustling silks and shimmering satins, displaying the virtuosity of his highly finished detail, composition and sense of colour. Working in Florence, Ricci’s paintings appealed not only to Italians but to those on ‘The Grand Tour’, particularly collectors in Britain and the United States, Andrew Carnegie, of steel fame and wealth, owned Ricci’s “The Village Wedding”.