Jusepe de Ribera
(Jativa, Valencia 1591–1652 Naples)
oil on canvas, 115.5 x 93 cm, framed
Private European collection
A. E. Pérez Sanchez/N. Spinosa, Jusepe de Ribera, 1591–1652, Naples 1992 (as Jusepe de Ribera);
N. Spinosa, Ribera, Naples 2003, p. 243, no. A305 (as Jusepe de Ribera);
N. Spinosa, Ribera, L’opera completa, 2nd edition, Naples 2006, p. 380, no. A 336 (as Jusepe de Ribera)
The present painting depicts Saint Jerome, one of the four Doctors of the Church. He is shown emerging in bright relief from the dark background, holding the script of one of his texts, probably the Vulgata, the Latin translation of the Bible. He is represented in profile, with a long beard, his body marked by deprivation. The red mantle that he typically wears covers him and his gaze is turned heavenward, towards a simple crucifix bound to a tree branch before him. On the far left a skull, one of the characteristic attributes of this penitent lies in the shadows. Over the course of his long career, Ribera painted this subject on several occasions. The present work belongs to his late period during the 1650s, it is stylistically close to the Saint Jerome in the Museo del Prado, which is signed and dated 1652.
The Spanish artist from Játiva, near Valencia, underwent his initial training in his native land before travelling first to Northern Italy and then to Rome, where he settled and is documented from 1613. In the papal city he entered the circle of painters that had assimilated the influence of Caravaggio, and he too was profoundly influenced by the realism of this innovative pictorial language, choosing to dedicate many works to lowly and humble subjects. In 1616 he moved to Naples, where he was to remain for the rest of his life, while maintaining close ties with his homeland whence he received many commissions. Ribera conducted a brilliant career from Naples, also fulfilling countless prestigious commissions locally, such as the decoration of the Certosa di San Martino, undertaken from 1638 to 1643. He also influenced the next generation of Neapolitan artists, most notably Luca Giordano. From the early 1630s, Ribera’s palette opened up, admitting brighter colours, derived from the luminous tonalities of the Neo-Venetian tendencies, which were then an emerging fashion in Rome. During the last decade of his life, troubled by health problems, the pace of his production slowed, and his works became marked by intimate and touching subjects, expressed according to the tenets of tenebrist painting. The present dramatic Saint Jerome exemplifies his last phase, emanating a profound sensibility of the human condition. The intensity of the Saint’s expression, both docile and of great force, is rendered more alive by the light, which seems almost divine, falling from the left and touching his eyes and wrinkles with bright highlights. His face and body are marked by deep shadows generated by broad rapid brushstrokes. Here Ribera’s painting is at its most expressively free, yet he continues to embrace the strong contrasts of chiaroscuro derived from his early experience of Caravaggio.
Specialist: Mark MacDonnell
realized price**EUR 308,000USD 334,500
estimateEUR 80,000 to 120,000USD 87,000 to 130,500
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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