Exceptional large oil painting, Grandmother’s Birthday by Ricci

By Ricci, Arturo (Italian, 1854-1919)


Rendered with immaculate realism, this exceptional painting is a superb example of the charming genre scenes that Arturo Ricci is known for.


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This astonishing painting by the Italian artist Arturo Ricci (1854-1919) casts us back to the lavishness of the pre-Industrial era. The painting is filled with opulent details that elevate this traditional genre scene.

The scene depicted is a vignette of a birthday party, celebrating the grandmother who sits in the centre. A queue of guests enters the drawing room to greet her. At the front of the queue, her granddaughter embraces her, whilst another granddaughter patiently waits to give her a bouquet, with the mother standing behind. The grandfather sits beside the grandmother, and other figures stand around in cheerful conversation, besotted by the sweetness of the grandchildren. A large dog sleeps at the feet of the grandparents, reflecting the familial atmosphere.

Ricci is known as a forerunner of the historical costume genre, as shown by his expert rendering of traditional Rococo fashions in this painting. The men wear stiff embroidered jackets, alongside voluminous wigs or military hats. The women wear silky robes d’anglais, with floral or lace petticoats peeking through underneath. Particularly charming are the two granddaughters, wearing a flower-laden straw hat and a blue-and-white bonnet respectively.

The party is set within an ornate courtly interior, decorated in a rich, Rococo style that reflects the central composition. Gilded mirrors, clocks, and furniture are neatly arranged around the room, whilst large-scale painted frescos cover the walls.

The painting is beautifully rendered with an almost hyper-realism. Particularly impressive is the artist’s handling of colour: the painting is filled with a whole rainbow of shades that further reflect the opulence of the period.

Surrounded by a wonderfully carved giltwood frame, the painting is signed in the lower right ‘Arturo Ricci’. Born in Florence, Ricci was an Academic and Classical painter, known for his genre scenes that celebrated the aristocratic life of the pre-Industrial era.

Notable for its impressive size, subject, and rendering, this stunning genre scene is a particularly fine example of the artist’s work.

Canvas: Height 66cm, width 97cm
Frame: Height 92cm, width 122cm, depth 9cm



- Pisani's, Florence
- Mr. and Mrs George J. Keltie, Edmonton, Canada
- Sold at Sotheby's New York sale 8 November 2013, Lot 63 ($81,250)


Artist / Maker
By Ricci, Arturo (Italian, 1854-1919)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Late 19th Century
Late 19th Century
Figurative Art, Genre, Rococo
Giltwood, Oil on Canvas


92 cm / 36.2 inches
122 cm / 48 inches
9 cm / 3.5 inches


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