The J. Paul Getty Museum

Fishing Boats in a Storm

Object Details


Fishing Boats in a Storm


Marco Ricci (Italian, 1676 - 1730)




about 1715


Gouache on tanned skin

Object Number:



31.4 × 45.2 cm (12 3/8 × 17 13/16 in.)

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Object Description

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.

18th and 19th Century Drawings (March 15 to May 29, 1994)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), March 15 to May 29, 1994
Color in Drawing (March 10 to May 24, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 10 to May 24, 1998
Drawing Italy in the Age of the Grand Tour (February 5 to May 12, 2002)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 5 to May 12, 2002
Light and Water: Drawing in Eighteenth-Century Venice (May 17 to August 21, 2005)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 17 to August 21, 2005