After he returned to Italy from England in 1716 with his uncle and partner Sebastiano Ricci, Marco Ricci adopted the rare technique of applying gouache to dark brown tanned leather as his preferred method of drawing. In this gouache sketch on leather, Ricci took advantage of the skin's dark color to emphasize the ominous storm. The thinner applications of paint in the sky leave some of the leather visible, increasing the visual weight of the angry clouds. He copiously used lead white to make his pigments opaque, and the resulting lack of transparency in light reflecting off the water and sky gives the scene a chilling luminosity. The frightening storm and threat of doom--natural phenomena become fearsome--satisfied the aesthetic notion of the Sublime, the idea that images or words describing danger provided a pleasurable experience for viewers or readers, a vicarious thrill of terror enjoyed in the safety of a drawing room.


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