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Jose de Ribera

José de Ribera (Xàtiva, 1591 – Naples 1652, was a Spanish tenebrist painter from the 17th century, also known as Giusepe de Ribera (Italianized name)). because he claimed his origins by signing as “Jusepe de Ribera, Spanish” the “setabense” (from Játiva). 

José de Ribera is an outstanding painter of the Spanish School, although his work was entirely carried out in Italy, with no real examples of his beginnings in Spain being known.


It is believed that José de Ribera began his apprenticeship with Francisco Ribalta, who had a well-attended workshop. Due to the lack of works from this time, this fact cannot be proved.

At the age of 17, Rivera left for Italy to follow in Caravaggio's footsteps. When he arrived in Rome, he met the classicist painting of Reni and Ludovico Carracci as well as the rough tenebrism that was being practiced by the Dutch caravagists residing in that city.

He married the daughter of an important family (Azzolini), which was followed by a rapid artistic rise. In a few years, José de Ribera, called ”lo Spagnoletto”, acquired fame throughout Europe thanks, above all, to his engraving works; even Rembrandt is known to have collected them.

The strength of his work was the practice of Caraveggio's drama. The intensity with which he worked kept him apart from his beloved Spain.


The support of the viceroys and other authorities of Spanish origin explains the fact that his works arrived in abundance in the Iberian Peninsula.  Currently, the Prado Museum (Madrid) has more than forty paintings.  It should be noted that Ribera was famous during his lifetime, so much so that Velázquez visited him in Naples in 1630.

The fusion of Italian and Spanish influences led him to paint works such as "Sileno Ébrio" (1626 -  currently exhibited in Capodimonte, in the region of Lácio) and "The Martyrdom of Santo André" (1628, exhibited in the  Budapest Museum of Fine Arts).

José de Ribera died in 1652 and is buried in the Church of Santa Maria del Parto, in the Mergellina district of Naples.

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