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Ribera, Jusepe de, lo Spagnoletto
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Ribera, Jusepe de, lo Spagnoletto

Játiva, Valencia (Spain), 1591 - Naples (Italy), 1652

Ribera, Jusepe de, lo Spagnoletto See author's file


1632. Oil on canvas.
Room 001

The father of the race of centaurs, Ixion was punished by madness for murdering his father-in-law. After he was pardoned he attempted to supplant Jupiter in Juno’s bed and was consequently condemned to be turned on a wheel for all eternity. Ribera depicts the wheel being set in motion by a satyr who has chained Ixion to it, allowing the artist to display his mastery of anatomy. The canvas is a pair to Tityus (P1113).

The virtues of Ribera’s Furias are even more apparent in Ixion, the most personal of his interpretations of the sinners in Hades. Unlike Tityus, there were few precedents for Ixion. He is the only one of Titian’s Furias of whom we no longer have any visual record, and he was not popular with earlier painters, either in Italy or in the Netherlands. Ribera’s Ixion is thus something of a seminal piece, and displays his remarkable ability both to depict the human body in extreme conditions and to convey to the viewer the horror inherent in the scene. Even more than in Tityus, he placed the action in the immediate foreground. The giant’s huge body, animated by the circular motion of his torture, stands out against a black background, and seems to plunge towards the viewer, who is also oppressed by the torturer’s cruel stare. In Ixion, it is the torturer rather than the sinner who conveys the cruelty of the punishment. The torturer glaring out at the viewer deserves some comment. He is an invention of the painter for three female figures -Alecto, Megaera and Tisiphone, the true Furies- were responsible for enforcing the torture of sinners in the underworld. Ribera, however, opted for a male figure whose most distinctive physical features are his little horns and pointed ears. There is no reference in classical or Renaissance sources to this figure but, as Vincenzo Abbate has noted, he is mentioned by Marino in 1623 in his L’Adone. Canto XIII, entitled La prigione, focuses on the ordeals suffered by Adonis, chained in Hades by order of Vulcan, the simbolo di Satana. Amongst the figures torturing Adonis there, Marino mentions one con l’orecchie asinili, che non gode della dolcezza dell’armonia, anzi l’aborre, ci rappresenta l’avarizia e l’ignoranza, che non si curano di poesie né si compiacciono di musiche. The resemblance of Marino’s torturer, the personification of greed and ignorance, to the version painted by Ribera is conclusive, and suggests that Ribera was aware of the poet’s celebrated work (Falomir, M.: Las Furias. Alegoría política y desafío artístico, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2014, pp. 182-183).


Technical data

Related artworks

Inventory number
Ribera, Jusepe de, lo Spagnoletto
Height: 220 cm; Width: 301 cm
Las Furias
Royal Collection (Royal Palace of El Buen Retiro, Madrid, 1701, [n. 95]; El Buen Retiro Palace, 1794, n. 800).

Bibliography +

Inventario. Alcázar de Madrid (1636-1666)., II, Madrid, 1686, pp. ?.

Trapier, Elizabeth du Gué, Ribera, Hispanic Society of America, Nueva York, 1952, pp. 78, 81/lám. 49.

Ars hispaniae: historia universal del arte hispánico, Plus Ultra, Madrid, 1971, pp. 115.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Ponz, Antonio, Viage de España., VI, Madrid, 1972, pp. 118.

Bermejo de la Rica, A., La Mitologia en el Museo del Prado, Editora Nacional, Madrid, 1974, pp. 195.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Sobre los monstruos de Ribera, Archivo español de arte, 47, 1974, pp. 241.

Spinosa, Nicola, La obra pictórica completa de Ribera, Noguer, Barcelona.Madrid, 1978, pp. 103.

Brown, J., Un Ribera enderezado., Archivo español de arte, 52, 1979, pp. 174.

Inventarios reales: testamentaria del Rey Carlos II : 1701-1, Museo del PradoPatronato Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1981, pp. 284.

Jusepe de Ribera: lo Spagnoletto, 1591-1652, Washington University Press, Fort Worth, 1982, pp. 58/lám. 34.

López Torrijos, Rosa, La mitología en la pintura española del siglo XVII, Editorial de la Universidad Complutense, Madrid, 1982, pp. 1126.

Civiltà del Seicento a Napoli, Electa, Nápoles, 1984, pp. 411.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 556-557.

López Torrijos, Rosa, La mitología en la pintura española del Siglo de Oro, Cátedra, Madrid, 1985, pp. 400.

Barghahn, Barbara Von, Philip IV and the Golden House of the Buen Retiro in the Tradition of Caesar, Garland PublishingInc., Nueva York.Londres, 1986, pp. lám. 708.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990.

Benito Domènech, Fernando, Ribera. 1591-1652, Bancaja, Valencia, 1991, pp. 86.

Jusepe de Ribera, Piero CorsinoInc, Nueva York, 1992.

Ribera: (1591-1652), Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1992, pp. 266.

López Torrijos, Rosa, Mitologia e Historia en las Obras Maestras del Prado, Scala Books, Londres, 1998, pp. 66.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Pintura barroca española: guía, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2001, pp. 84.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Jusepe de Ribera el Españoleto, Lunwerg, Barcelona, 2003, pp. 25.

Spinosa, Nicola, Ribera, Electa, Napoli, 2003, pp. 286.

Brown, Jonathan, Un palacio para el rey: el Buen Retiro y la corte de Felipe de Felipe IV, Taurus, Madrid, 2003.

Finaldi, Gabriele, En: El Palacio del Rey Planeta, Felipe IV y el Buen Retiro, Úbeda de los cobos, A. (ed), El Palacio del Rey Planeta: Felipe IV y el Buen Retiro, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2005, pp. 236.

Falomir Faus, Miguel, 'El desafío artístico: Escorzos inverosímiles y expresiones extremas.' En:, Las Furias. Alegoría política y desafío artístico, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2013, pp. 75-124 [100-108 fg.67,68].

Falomir Faus, Miguel, 'De monarcas, traidores y amantes depechados.' En:, Las Furias. Alegoría política y desafío artístico, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2014, pp. 63-74 [67].

Falomir Faus, Miguel, Las Furias. Alegoría política y desafío artístico, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2014, pp. 140 n.21.

Georgievska-Shine, Aneta Silver, Larry, Rubens, Velázquez, and the King of Spain, Ashgate, Surrey, 2014, pp. 154 fg.6.1.

Marshall, Christopher R., Baroque Naples and the industry of painting, Yale University Press,, 2016, pp. 223-225.

van Gastel, Joris, Slow violence: Jusepe de Ribera and the limits of Naturalism, Oxford art journal, 41 1, 2018, pp. 3-17.

Other inventories +

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos II, Buen Retiro, 1701-1703. Núm. [95].
[95] Ottra pinttura de ttres Uaras y media de largo y dos y media de altto Con la fabula de Jxion atormenttandole la rueda original de Joseph de Riuera el españoleto Con su marco negro tassada en Sesentta Doblones ... 3600

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 1005.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1910. Núm. 1114.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1942-1996. Núm. 1114.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 484.
Ribera. / 484. Ixion atado á la rueda. (figura de tamaño colosal)./ Alto 8 pies, 1 pulg; 6 lin; ancho, 10 pies, 4 pulg, 6 lin.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 484.

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Buen Retiro, 1794. Núm. 800.
{3163} 800. Otra [pintura] de Josef Ribera con Hegion atormentandole la rueda, de tres varas y media de alrgo y dos y media de alto...5000

Inscriptions +

Jusepe de Ribera .F. /1632
Inscribed in orange. Front, lower right corner

Inscribed in white. Front, lower left corner

Inscribed in orange. Front, lower left corner

Exhibitions +

Arte y mito. Los dioses del Prado
15.10.2020 - 14.03.2021

06.06.2020 - 25.07.2021

The "Furias". From Titian to Ribera
21.01.2014 - 04.05.2014

El palacio del Rey Planeta. Felipe IV y el Buen Retiro
06.07.2005 - 30.10.2005

José de Ribera
Nueva York NY
15.09.1992 - 29.11.1992

José de Ribera
02.06.1992 - 16.08.1992

Location +

Room 001 (On Display)

Update date: 11-04-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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