Jusepe de Ribera and Workshop
(Jativa, Valencia 1591–1652 Naples
Saint Francis of Paola,
oil on canvas, 75 x 62 cm, framed
We are grateful to Nicola Spinosa, for suggesting the attribution after examination of the present painting in the original. He proposes a date after 1640, based on its close compositional and stylistic affinities with other works on the same subject.
An autograph, signed, variant of this composition was sold at Sotheby’s London, 6th July 2016 ( lot 31). Another slightly different autograph variant, signed and dated 1640, is in a private collection, Geneva (see: N. Spinosa, Ribera. L’opera completa, Naples 2006, p. 352, no. A257). The figures in both paintings are similar, although the hands are arranged differently; in the present painting Saint Francis holds his staff with both hands, whilst in the Geneva painting he has a piece of paper in his right hand and rests his left on a staff.
During the 1640s, Ribera enjoyed considerable success and had securely established his reputation as the most important painter in Naples. His series of saints (e.g. Saint John the Baptist; Saint Bartholomew; the Magdalene in Prayer; all Madrid, Prado) and Saint Agnes (Dresden, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister), demonstrate Ribera’s full maturity. He strikes a masterly balance between the representative tradition inherited from Caravaggio, a luminous clarity derived from Venetian art, Bolognese classicism and elements from the style of van Dyck. The choice of ordinary men as models for his series of saints and apostles brought an immediacy to his paintings that evidently struck a chord with his contemporaries. It was reinforced by the intense realism and immediacy of his handling of paint, and this veracity lends his pictures of this type a powerful dignity. Saint Frances is shown here as a simple bearded man, whose expression immediately engages the viewer. The brushwork is vivid, with the saint’s beard and forehead rendered in lush thick strokes. Such was the popularity of paintings of this type that Ribera returned to the theme on several occasions during his long and prolific career.
Specialist: Mark MacDonnell
realized price**EUR 30,000USD 33,000
estimateEUR 25,000 to 35,000USD 27,500 to 38,500
Old Master Paintings
Date: 18.10.2016, 17:00
Location: Palais Dorotheum Vienna
Exhibition: 08.10. - 18.10.2016
**Purchase price incl. all charges, commissions and taxes
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