José Ribera

Ribera, José


(also Jusepe de Ribera, called II Spagnoletto). Born Feb. 17 (?), 1591, in Játiva, Valencia; died Sept. 2, 1652, in Naples. Spanish painter and engraver.

It is believed that Ribera studied with F. Ribalta in Valencia. He settled in Italy in 1613. From 1616 to 1618 he worked in Naples, where he was court painter for the Spanish viceroys. Ribera’s art reflects the influence of Caravaggism. His early works, including etchings executed during the 1620’s, are dominated by harsh chiaroscuro. In the 1620’s and 1630’s, Ribera painted dramatic scenes of martyrdom, stressing the victory of will over physical suffering. His half-length representations of saints and ancient philosophers are greatly humanized (Democritus, 1620, Prado, Madrid).

In the mid-1630’s, Ribera, while remaining a strict realist, produced works that were less severe. He used less chiaroscuro, and his palette acquired golden and silvery tones. Ribera’s paintings on themes from the Old and New Testaments were noted for lofty humanism (The Adoration of the Shepherds, 1638, Museum of Fine Arts, Grenoble). His depictions of women were particularly profound and moving (St. Inés, Dresden Picture Gallery, 1641). Ribera also painted mythological and genre scenes (The Club-footed Boy, 1642, Louvre, Paris).


Znamerovskaia, T. P. Tvorchestvo Khusepe Ribery i problema narodnosti ispanskogo realisticheskogo iskusstva. Leningrad, 1955.
Du Gué Trapier, E. Ribera. New York, 1952.
Brown, J. Jusepe de Ribera: Prints and Drawings. Princeton, 1973.