Sebastiano Ricci was an Italian painter of the late Baroque school of Venice. About the same age as Piazzetta, and an elder contemporary of Tiepolo, he represents a late version of the vigorous and luminous Cortonesque style of grand manner fresco painting. He was born in Belluno, son of Andreana and Livio Ricci. In 1671, he apprenticed to Federico Cerebri of Venice. Others claim Ricci’s first master was Sebastiano Mazzoni. In 1678, a youthful indiscretion led to an unwanted pregnancy, and ultimately to a greater scandal, when Ricci was accused of attempting to poison the young pregnant woman to avoid marriage. Imprisoned, he gained release only after intervention of a nobleman, probably a Pisani family member. He married the pregnant mother in 1691, although this was a stormy union.
After his arrest, he moved to Bologna, where he domiciled near the Parish of San Michele del Mercato. His painting style there was apparently influenced by Giovanni Gioseffo dal Sole. On 28 September 1682 he was contracted by the \"Fraternity of Saint John of Florence\" to paint a Decapitation of John the Baptist for their Oratory. On 9 December 1685, the Count of San Segundo near Parma commissioned from Ricci the decoration of the Oratory of the Madonna of the Seraglio, which he completed in collaboration of Ferdinando Galli-Bibiena by October 1687, receiving a compensation of 4,482 Lira. In 1686, the Duke Ranuccio II Farnese of Parma commissioned s Pietà for a new Capuchin convent. From 1687-1688, the apartments of the Parmense Duchess in Piacenza were decorated by Ricci with canvases recalling the life of the Farnese pope: Paul III.