Jusepe de Ribera also known as José de Ribera was a famous and incredibly talented Spanish painter. He was born in a family of a wealthy shoemaker that allowed him to study art in the Academy of Saint Luke and follow the famous painters of Italy for a prolonged time. This notable man was the principal person of the legendary Spanish school and usually created his drawings in Spain and Italy. There, José de Ribera married the daughter of famous Italian painter Giovanni Azzolino that helped him to become a significant figure in the art world of Napoli.
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The majority of paintings by Jusepe de Ribera were created in a particular style called dramatic illumination or tenebrism that can be characterized by sophisticated contrasts of dark and light tones. The early biography of the artist may be characterized by a significant influence of Caravaggio and Correggio, and the later biography shows the influence of Spanish and Italian masters. Almost every work by Ribera leaves a downhearted and dramatic impression, forcing the viewers to think over the massage of the author.
Paintings Made by José de Ribera
The most famous paintings created by José de Ribera are: Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew, Magdalena Ventura, St. Jerome and the Angel of Judgement, and St. Paul the Hermit. All of these drawings are painted in a particular style of the author and are dedicated to different religious themes discovered in the Bible.
Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew
This work by José de Ribera describes the martyrdom and severe physical sufferings experienced by the apostle Bartholomew. Naked and helpless, the apostle looks straight at the audience at the time when cruel executors flay him alive. In the background, it is possible to distinguish heads of people who are the witnesses of the tortures. As a matter of fact, these are two priests, who observe the cruel scene and see the last moments of Bartholomew’s life. This artwork, as well as many others, is a great example of the exceptional talent of the painter and shows his great knowledge of the religious subject and art.
Magdalena Ventura with Her Husband and Son
This work is one of the most famous paintings by Jusepe de Ribera. It is considered to be the unusual for the Spanish artist as here, he presents to the audience the amazing metamorphoses of the human nature. The author drew it at the request of the rich aristocrat and depicted the woman with a beard with her husband and an infant in her arms. It is important to mention that by creating this artwork, the painter wanted to show the power of realism and make a strong emphasis on its uncompromising feature.
St. Paul the Hermit
In this artwork, the master describes St. Paul, the man who managed to escape the severe persecutions. In order to save his life, the man runs away to the desert and constantly practiced meditation for many years. In this way, St. Paul is known to live more than one hundred years and presents the pattern to follow for many dedicated monks. Here, the author uses thick paint in order to show the wrinkled skin and the body of St. Paul as a symbol of religious devotion.
St. Jerome and the Angel of Judgement
Paintings by the Spanish artist are usually characterized with a dramatic theme taken from the Bible. This artwork is not an exception as here Jusepe de Ribera depicts the appearance of the angel and describes the doom trumpet announcing the moment of the Last Judgment. Like all the other paintings, the work is created in a style of dramatic illumination and can be characterized by a high technical level of art. Thus, doom trumpet brings the additional striking element that allows to transmit the important religious message.