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Marco Ricci, 1676–1729

Rehearsal of an opera

ca. 1709
Oil on canvas
19 x 22 inches (48.3 x 55.9 cm), Frame: 24 1/4 × 27 7/8 × 2 1/2 inches (61.6 × 70.8 × 6.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
alto | art | bonnet (hat) | books | cello | chitarrone | coats | double bass | dress (costume) | fan (costume accessory) | genre subject | harpsichord | instrumentalists | Italian | men | muff | music | musical instruments | opera (discipline) | painting (visual work) | performance | performers | piano | reading | sheet music | singers | singing | soprano | violin | wigs | women
Associated Places:
England | Greater London | London | United Kingdom
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

The Venetian painter Marco Ricci first visited London between 1708 and 1710–11, probably to paint scenery for the Queen’s Theatre, Haymarket. During this time he created a series of these small pictures of musical performances in domestic interiors. They have traditionally been identified as rehearsals for one of the Italian operas that were much in vogue in London at the time. Ricci’s paintings are, however, just as likely to represent private concerts by leading musicians associated with the opera. The man with the outstretched arm at the center of the composition is thought to be Nicola Grimaldi, known as Nicolini, one of the first of a number of castrati (male sopranos or altos whose high voices were preserved through castration) whose vocal pyrotechnics provided a major source of Italian opera’s appeal.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Hogarth and Europe (Tate Britain, 2021-11-01 - 2022-03-20) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Canaletto, Tiepolo and the eighteenth-century Venetian art (Palazzo Ducale, 2019-02-23 - 2019-06-09) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Canaletto, Tiepolo and the eighteenth-century Venetian art (Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 2018-09-24 - 2019-01-21) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

The Pageant of Venice : Art and Music in the Golden Age of Serenissima (Portland Art Museum, 2014-02-22 - 2014-06-08) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

The Pageant of Venice : Art and Music in the Golden Age of Serenissima (Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 2013-10-01 - 2014-01-19) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Grand Tour - The Lure of Italy in the Eighteenth Century (Tate Britain, 1996-10-10 - 1997-01-06) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

The Consul Smith Collection - Masterpieces of Italian Drawing from the Royal Library, Windsor Castle (Kimbell Art Museum, 1989-11-11 - 1990-01-21) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

[Front matter] Sotheby's advertisement for 30 June 1965 sale, Burlington Magazine, vol. 107, June 1965, p. ix, N1 .B87 Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

A King's purchase : King George III and the collection of Consul Smith, Queen's Gallery (London, England), London, 1993, p. 28 (detail), N5247 .S65 K55 1993 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Charles Beddington, Canaletto in England, a Venetian artist abroad, 1746-1755 , Yale University Press, New Haven, 2006, p. 30, fig. 18, NJ18 C17 B45 2006 + OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Canaletto & Venezia, Museum Musei, Milano, p. 65, cat. 11.07, NJ18.C17 A12 2019 (LC) Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

Ching-Jung Chen, The early Georgian conversation piece : Thesis (Ph. D.)--Rutgers University, UMI Dissertation Services, Ann Arbor, 2001, pp. 79, 130, 593-99, cat. 145, Available online : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses [ORBIS]

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 186-187, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

European Masters of the Eighteenth Century, Winter Exhibition, 1954-5 , Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1954, pp. 89-90, no. 295, ND456 L65 1954B (LSF) [ORBIS]

Hilliard Goldfarb, Art and music in Venice : from the Renaissance to the Baroque, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, 2013, p. 222, cat. no. 105, NX552.V4 A78 2013 (LC) OVERSIZE (Haas Art & Arch Collection) Second copy : LSF-Use in SML, Manuscripts and Archives only (Non-Circ) - Yns72 2013 A782 Oversize [ORBIS]

Richard D. Leppert, Sound judgment : selected essays, Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot, England and Burlington, VT, 2007, p. 97, fig. 6, ML3800 .L62 2007 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Catherine Loisel, Eblouissante Venise: Venise, les Arts et l'Europe au XVIIIe Siècle, Réunion des Musées Nationaux, Paris, p. 130-131, cat. 87, N6921.V5 E25 2018 (LC) Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

Charles Saumarez Smith, Eighteenth-century decoration: design and the domestic interior in England, , Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1993, pp. 54-5, no. 33, NK2043 A1 S28 1993 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Sotheby's sale catalogue : Important old master paintings : 30 June 1965, Sotheby's, June 30, 1965, p. 11, lot 11, Auction Catalogues (YCBA) [YCBA]

Sotheby's sale catalogue : Important old master paintings : 6 April 1977, Sotheby's, April 6, 1977, p. 21, lot 17, Auction Catalogues (YCBA) [YCBA]

Frances Vivian, The Consul Smith collection : masterpieces of Italian drawing from Windsor Castle : Raphael to Canaletto, Hirmer, Munich, 1989, pp. 20, 43, NC255 .V58 1989 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Scott Wilcox, Among the whores and thieves : William Hogarth and The beggar's opera, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1997, pp. 44, 46, 102, 103, no. 27, fig, 38, NJ18 H67 A15 B4 1997 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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