Pietro Ricchi called Il Lucchese
(Lucca, 1606 – Udine, 1675)
Oil on canvas, cm. 70 x 53,4, inch. 27,5 x 21
With gilded carved frame cm. 115 x 100, inch. 45,2 x 39,3
On a dark background emerges the protagonist of the painting: a young lady with the hair tied back at her nape carrying a silver tray with a colorful variety of flowers (including roses, tulips, poppy flowers, carnations and narcissuses). She personifies Flora, the ancient goddess of the spring, to whom were dedicated the roman feast days called “Floralie”. Flora was the Italic version of the Greek goddess Clori, who was the wife of Zephyr, and she is an allusion to fertility and regeneration of the Earth.
During the Baroque age lots of young ladies destined to marriage requested to be portrayed as Flora as an auspice for their fecundity. For the peculiar and not idealized physiognomy of the character and for the presence of lots of jewelry (especially pearls that were considered a symbol of purity and virginity) we can assume that this is a portrait, too.
It can be added to the corpus of Pietro Ricchi, a famous Tuscan painter of the XVII century mostly active in the North of Italy. He was born in Lucca on the 1606 and he was introduced very young in the school of Domenico Cresti called Il Passignano before moving to Bologna where he followed the lessons of Guido Reni.
Even if he was particularly interested in the eccentric and dreamlike style of Mastelletta, due to his restless soul he went to Rome and to France looking for new inspirations. After leaving Paris for a fight with a member of the Court, on the 1635 he came back to Italy and spent some time in Lombardy where he got in contact with the art of Procaccini, Morazzone, Cerano and Cairo. From the 1650 he started working between Lombardy, Veneto and Trentino where he received lots of public and private commissions, before ending in Udine where he died on the 1675.
It can be dated between the 1640-1660 due to a rich and elegant eclecticism that shows influence from Lombardy and Veneto and also Tuscany. The sweet and smooth effect of the light on the skin has a confrontation with other paintings of the half the XVII century, for example the “Virgin with Child and flowers” in which the virgin has the same inclined and three quarter position of the head. Other similarities can be found with the “Queen Tomiris with the head of Cirus” from a private collection in Washington and the “Allegory of Love”, location unknown.
Expertise from prof. Sandro Bellesi