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Sebastiano Ricci (Belluno 1659-Venice 1734)

The Sacrifice of Polyxena late 1720s

Black chalk, pen and ink and wash | 20.1 x 28.2 cm | RCIN 907042

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The story from Ovid’s Metamorphoses tells of the spirit of Achilles visiting the Greeks after the fall of Troy, demanding the sacrifice of Polyxena at his tomb. Polyxena, kneeling on the platform at the centre, is about to be sacrificed by a priest, with a burning pyre behind. Joseph Smith owned the painting that resulted.