Adolfo Ricci - Mazzolini Giuseppucci pharmacy's interiors in Fabriano, Italy

ADOLFO RICCI

ADOLFO RICCI

(Perugia 1834 – Fabriano 1904)

The carver and modeller Adolfo Ricci is a complex and fascinating figure, very representative of the spirit of those times.
He was born in Perugia on the 7th of May 1834 to Annunziata Barlam and Zaccaria Ricci. His father was himself a carver and a decorator and Adolfo showed his love not only for art but also for republican and Italian unification movements at a very young age and these two strong passions would inspire and condition his whole life.
He spent the early years of his adventurous life between Perugia and Rome, for political and professional reasons to finally settle in Fabriano as a mature man.
After the Italian Unification, Ricci finally dedicated all his energy to teaching and to the practice of his art. He settled in Rome where in 1875 he was nominated Professor of Carving, at the St Michele Institute and was commissioned for several valuable works of art, among which balustrades for the Ministry of Finance, the Prince Sciarra dining room furniture, the Palazzo del Popolo main entrance in Rome.
In spite of his successful career, the artist ended up in serious financial difficulty and probably for this reason, in 1892 he decided to move to Fabriano as Professor of Carving at the Royal Professional School.
The Institute made significant progress under Ricci, winning several national exhibitions and becoming a leading school for cabinet making.
During those years Ricci received several important personal awards as recognition for his work: in 1898 the “Academic of Merit” from the Perugia Academy of Art, in 1900 a silver medal of first degree at the Paris World Exposition and lastly the appointment as a member of the Bruxelles Universal Academy of Art.
As an artist, Adolfo Ricci left us in Fabriano his immortal masterpiece, the interiors of the Mazzolini Giuseppucci pharmacy.

Adolfo Ricci - Mazzolini Giuseppucci pharmacy's interiors
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At 13 years old, Adolfo enrolled at the Academy of Art in Perugia but after only two years he joined the followers of Garibaldi to defend the new Republic of Rome from the Papal Army at St Pancrazio’s wall. The night of the 4th of December 1855, the Pope’s Gendarmes raided his house in Rome looking for a fugitive convicted of a political crime, in the moment that Adolfo’s first wife, Teresa Benvenuti, was giving birth to their first daughter, Elpine. Teresa never recovered from the traumatic event and after a long agony died, leaving Adolfo on his own with a baby girl to raise.
Ricci’s patriotic ardour wasn’t diminished by his family tragedy and in 1859, while working on the St. Ausonio altar in Spoleto, he was summoned by his companions in arms in a battle against a troop of Swiss mercenaries sent by Pope Paolo III to crush an Italian unification uprising, known sadly as the “Slaughter of the 20th of June”. Fortunately the artist survived and together with his little daughter Elpina, they nursed dozens of injured people.
After the Italian Unification, Ricci finally dedicated all his energy to teaching and to the practice of his art. He settled in Rome where in 1875 he was nominated Professor of Carving, at the St Michele Institute and was commissioned for several valuable works of art, among which balustrades for the Ministry of Finance, the Prince Sciarra dining room furniture, the Palazzo del Popolo main entrance in Rome.
In spite of his successful career, the artist ended up in serious financial difficulty and probably for this reason, in 1892 he decided to move to Fabriano as Professor of Carving at the Royal Professional School, under the advise of a local well-known businessman.

The Institute made significant progress under Ricci, winning several national exhibitions and becoming a leading school for cabinet making.
During those years Ricci received several important personal awards as recognition for his work: in 1898 the “Academic of Merit” from the Perugia Academy of Art, in 1900 a silver medal of first degree at the Paris World Exposition and lastly the appointment as a member of the Bruxelles Universal Academy of Art.
He had always been a passionate and free spirit and his love life was further proof of this. In 1895 his second child, Alceste was born to Maria Sarti, a former prostitute who was managing a brothel at the time. Adolfo married her four years later and Alceste became his legitimate child. Rumour has it that the artist used to say: “I married her to redeem her and to take her away from there”.
Adolfo Ricci passed away in 1904, in Fabriano and was sadly and sincerely missed by his students, friends, political comrades and his fellow masons. The numerous funeral orations collected by his friend and biographer Pietro Castagnari attest to the love and esteem for his honesty, bravery, coherence, goodness of heart and the example he set as a man.
The Guglielmo Oberdan Association (P.M.I. Fabriano) wrote one of the most moving and representative funeral orations :

“The passing away of
PROFESSOR ADOLFO RICCI
has deprived ‘this ancient and disenchanted Legion of patriots for the Italian Unification’ (quoting directly Adolfo Ricci’s words) of a soldier, deprived Art of a beloved son, deprived his children of a loving parent, leaving them, after much sorrow and struggle, only an honoured name and misery.
All members of the Association are invited to participate at the civil funeral service.
Fabriano, 6th of February 1904”

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60044 Fabriano (AN) – Italy
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