Tommaso Righi (1722-1802)

Poland was the residence and place of employment of another Italian sculptor – Tommaso Righi – a renowned artist and an important figure in the artistic society of Rome in the second half of the 18th century. He departed from Rome to Poland at the age of 60, in May of 1784 – employed in the decoration works of the Cathedral of St. Stanislaus in Vilnius, which was being converted at the time.

On his way to Vilnius, he stopped in Warsaw, and his visit might have been the cause of Stanisław August becoming a member of the Rome Academy of Saint Luke in August of 1785. In Autumn of 1791, Righi was employed at the court of Stanisław August, and died in Warsaw in 1802.

We know of his activity in Warsaw, which lasted between 1792 and 1793 and consisted in decorating the King’s summer residence at the Łazienki. Alongside small decorative sculptures in the Łazienki palace, the artist made a group of statues formerly decorating the attic of the Amphitheatre (Theatre on the Isle): two figures personifying Tragedy and Comedy as well as 16 statues of sitting playwrights; those non-preserved sculptures, made of stucco in the technique of applying wet clay, were designed by André Le Brun. In the Łazienki garden stand two sandstone sculptures carved by Righi, which personify Vistula and Bug rivers and depict supine figures of a woman and a man, supported on overturned vases from which water pours out. From among Righi’s works made in Poland, some have not been preserved, some have been transformed, but his known artistic legacy indicates that until the end of his life, the artist remained an epigone of the late phase of Roman Baroque, and copied patterns and solutions which were popular in Rome 50 years earlier and which he knew from the times of former excellence.

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