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The Young Ribera

4/5/2011 - 8/28/2011

José de Ribera was born in Játiva (Valencia) in 1591 but lived and worked in Parma, Rome and Naples, where he developed a style based on that of Caravaggio. It was during his time in Parma, Rome and his early years in Naples that Ribera studied and rethought the language of naturalism. The exhibition focuses on this period, in which Ribera’s work passed through different stylistic phases and made use of a wide range of subjects, resulting in a profound interaction of style and iconography. During his time in Rome, Ribera deployed a precise descriptive manner and a use of chiaroscuro to offer innovative depictions of traditional subjects such as the Five Senses, the Apostles, and figures of Philosophers. In Naples, he made use of the same artistic resources to imbue his devotional subjects with a unique sense of intensity, rigour and drama. The exhibition is organised into different sections that group together related works or focus on specific periods during Ribera’s time in Rome and his early years in Naples.
Curators:
José Milicua, Professor Emeritus of Art History at the University of Barcelona and Javier Portús, Chief Curator of Spanish Painting at the Museo del Prado and Javier Portús, Head of Spanish Painting up to 1700 at the Museo del Prado

Access

Room C. Jerónimos Building

Opening time

Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 8pm (last access at 7.30pm)

Multimedia

Exhibition

José de Ribera versus The Master of the Judgement of Salomon

José de Ribera versus The Master of the Judgement of Salomon
The Judgement of Solomon
José de Ribera / Maestro del Juicio de Salomon
Oil on canvas, 153 x 201 cm
c. 1609 - 1610
Rome, Galería Borghese

The first section of the exhibition is entitled “José de Ribera versus the Master of the Judgment of Solomon”. It juxtaposes several of the few known paintings that have traditionally been attributed to Ribera during the earliest period of his career with other important works previously considered to be by the so-called “Master of the Judgment of Solomon”. This section includes a number of the outstanding canvases from the “Cosida Apostle Series”, loaned from the Longhi Foundation. Shown alongside them are three of the “Five Senses”, which is a crucial series for a reconstruction of the young Ribera’s activities and in which the artist’s technique and approach already reveals his self-confidence and desire for originality. Compositionally, the Apostle paintings are particularly rigorous, with extensive backgrounds that play a key role in the creation of a sense of dramatic climax. In the “Senses”, the figures fill the pictorial space, while their actions are depicted in a highly naturalistic manner. These characteristics explain why for many years the two series were attributed to different artists.

Ribera in Rome: History Paintings

Ribera in Rome: History Paintings
The Rasing of Lazarus
José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 171 x 289 cm
c. 1616
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

Following this section is another group of works assembled around the idea of “Ribera in Rome: history paintings”. In Rome, Ribera focused on the genre of history painting, creating complex compositions with several figures that depict episodes from the great narrative repertoires such as the Bible. This genre provoked a debate among the champions and detractors of naturalism as the latter maintained that it was not an appropriate style for compositions involving a wide range of actions and emotions. Ribera, a young artist anxious for recognition, rose to the challenge with horizontal-format works that include large-scale figures and in which the naturalistic language became a highly effective vehicle for the depiction of credible actions and emotions and for establishing relations between the figures.

Rome to Naples: Half- length figures

Rome to Naples: Half- length figures
Democritus
José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 120 x 90 cm
1615 - 1616
Switzerland, Private Collection

Following this section, the exhibition includes another unique group of works under the heading “From Rome to Naples: half-length figures”. During his years in Rome and his early period in Naples, Ribera also depicted numerous single figures or pairs, which are generally depicted half-length and in front of a table. Most of them are New Testament saints. In works of this type the artist deployed his precise, effective style to depict realistic human types and compositions in which the figure is located in the foreground and occupies almost all the pictorial space. The result is a series of powerful, rigorous images that would be the starting-point for future innovations, making Ribera’s artistic vocabulary and subject-matter among the most unique and distinctive of its day. During this period he began to depict philosophers, such as Origen and Democritus, using pictorial formats similar to those of his saints, although these early versions do not involve the association between poverty and philosophy to be found in later paintings of such figures.

Ribera in Naples

Ribera in Naples
The Flagellation of Christ
José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 140 x 118 cm
c. 1617
Naples, Quadreria dei Girolamini

The exhibition ends with the section “Ribera in Naples”, which includes works from the artist’s early period in that city. Ribera arrived in Naples in 1616 and remained there until his death in 1652. The transformation evident in his art from this point onwards can be related to the requirements of a different type of client, resulting in a greater emphasis on religious subjects. While the narrative paintings that the artist had produced in Rome were characterised by their horizontal formats, large number of figures and intent to be seen as “history” paintings, during Ribera’s first decade in Naples he primarily produced vertical-format works on religious subjects, in particular scenes related to the Passion. These paintings frequently emphasise the contrast between the naked, suffering body of Christ and the mockery or cruelty of the surrounding crowd, following a widespread tradition that had already been used by Caravaggio.

The collegiate church of Osuna

The collegiate church of Osuna
The Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew
José de Ribera
Oil on canvas 179 x 139 cm
1618 - 1619
Osuna (Seville), Patronato de Arte de la Colegiata

The collegiate church of Osuna has five paintings by Ribera depicting Saint SebastianThe penitent Saint Peter,Saint Jerome and the Angel of the Last JudgmentThe Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew, and The Crucifixion. The first four were executed between 1617 and 1619 for Pedro Téllez Girón, 3rd Duke of Osuna and Viceroy of Naples between 1616 and 1620. The Crucifixion was commissioned by the Duchess of Osuna and was completed in 1618. All five entered the church prior to April 1627. Their number, dimensions and the variety of physical types and compositional solutions to be seen in them make them one of the most important groups within Ribera’s early period.

Artworks

1

Saint Thomas

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 105 x 84,5 cm
c. 1609 - 1610
Budapest, Szépművészeti Múzeum, inv. 788 Estherházy collection

2

The Judgement of Solomon

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 153 x 201 cm
c. 1609 - 1610
Rome, Galería Borghese

3

Saint Bartholomew

José de Ribera

Oil on canvas, 126 x 97 cm

c. 1612

Florence, Fondazione di Studi di Storia dell' Arte Roberto Longhi

4

Saint Matthias (?)

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 126 x 97 cm
c. 1612
Florence, Fondazione di Studi di Storia dell' Arte Roberto Longhi

5

Saint Thomas

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 126 x 97 cm
c. 1612
Florence, Fondazione di Studi di Storia dell' Arte Roberto Longhi

6

Saint Paul

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 125 x 96 cm
c. 1612
Florence, Fondazione di Studi di Storia dell' Arte Roberto Longhi

7

Beggar

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 110 x 78 cm
c. 1612
Rome, Galería Borghese

8

Smell

José de Ribera

Oil on canvas, 115 x 88 cm

c. 1615

Madrid, Colección Juan Abelló

9

Taste

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 113 x 87 cm
c. 1615
Hartford, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, CT. The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund

10

Sight

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 114 x 89 cm
c. 1615
Mexico, Museo Franz Mayer

11

Christ before the Doctors

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 210 x 288 cm
c. 1612 - 1613
Langres, Collection Ville de Langres

12

The Denial of Saint Peter

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 163 x 233 cm
c. 1615 1616
Rome, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica in Palazzo Corsini

14

Susana and the Elders

José de Ribera

Oil on canvas, 138,5 x 179 cm

c. 1615

Madrid, Private Collection. Courtesy of the Caylus Gallery

15

The Martyrdom of Saint Lorenzo

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 216 x 167 cm
c. 1615
Saragossa, Basílica del Pilar. Cabildo Metropolitano de Zaragoza

16

Democritus

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 120 x 90 cm
1615 - 1616
Switzerland, Private Collection

17

Origins

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 123,5 x 95,5 cm
c. 1614 - 1615
Urbino, Soprintendenza per i Beni Storici Artistici ed Etnoantropologici delle Marche-Urbino, Galleria Nazionale delle Marche. Donación PaoloVolponi

18

Saint Anthony Abad

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 132 x 92 cm
c. 1615
Barcelona, Colección El Conventet

19

Saint Peter and Saint Paul

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 119 x 95 cm
c. 1612
Private Collection

20

Saint Peter

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 129 x 98 cm
Cosenza, Galleria Nazionale

21

Saint Paul

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 129 x 98 cm
1615 - 1616
Cosenza, Galleria Nazionale

22

Saint Peter

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 78 x 65 cm
c. 1616 - 1617
Naples, Quadreria dei Girolamini

23

Saint Sebastian Assisted by Saints

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 180,3 x 231,6 cm
c. 1619 - 1622
Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes

24

The Crowning with Thorns

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 197 x 115 cm
c. 1620
Colección Duques de Alba

25

The Lamentation over the Body of the Dead Christ

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 129,5 x 181 cm
c. 1620 - 1623
London, The National Gallery. Presented by David Barclay, 1853

26

Christ after the Flagellation

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 140 x 118 cm
c. 1617
Naples, Quadreria dei Girolamini

27

The Penitent Magdalen

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 78 x 61 cm
c. 1618 - 1623
Naples, Museo di Capodimonte

28

The Preliminaries for the Crucifixion

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 231 x 174 cm
c. 1622 - 1624
Cogolludo (Guadalajara), Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios

29

The Calvary

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas, 336 x 230 cm
1617 - 1618
Osuna (Seville), Patronato de Arte de la Colegiata

30

The Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew

José de Ribera
Oil on canvas 179 x 139 cm
1618 - 1619
Osuna (Seville), Patronato de Arte de la Colegiata

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