Sebastiano Ricci helped revitalize Venetian art at the beginning of the eighteenth century by adopting the luminous, richly colored style of Paolo Veronese and making it looser and more spontaneous, as seen in The Battle of the Lapiths and Centaurs. This painting depicts a subject from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The altercation began when Pirithous, king of the Lapiths, made the mistake of excluding Mars, the Roman god of war, from his wedding celebration. To exact his revenge Mars enlisted the centaur Eurythion to abduct Pirithous’s bride.


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