Art: A Violent Venetian

One wintry night in 1699, in a rain-lashed Venetian tavern, a young artist named Marco Ricci killed a gondolier who had slighted his paintings. Had it not been for this murder, argue some Italian historians, 18th century Venetian landscape painting might never have thrived as it did. To keep Ricci from the law, his Uncle Sebastiano packed the young hothead off to Dalmatia, where the wild landscape inflamed his imagination. After the heat was off in Venice, which took four years, he returned, and his painting began to give new life to the...

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