Josef Ribera

[Saint Christopher, by Josef Ribera] Also known as Juseppe de Ribera, Giuseppe Ribera, or Lo Spagnoletto, "the little Spaniard"; a painter. Born in 1588 in Jativa, Spain; died in 1656 in Naples, Italy. He studied in Valencia with Francisco de Ribalta. Going to Italy at twenty he was influenced by the works of Caravaggio towards the essential realism and the strong contrasts in lignt and shadow that characterize his style. He finally established himself in Naples, and was wealthy and distinguished by 1626. He could paint beauty, as is evidenced by his Immaculate Conception" done for the Ursulines of Salamanca, and rivaling Murillo's masterpiece, or by The Rapture of the Magdalen in the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid, but he preferred to stir the emotions by scenes of suffering or horror. Typical works are The Flaying of Saint Bartholomew, in the Prado in Madrid, The Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence, in the Dresden Gallery, the Pieta in the National Gallery, or still more realistic paintings such as The Club Foot, The Bearded Woman, and Prometheus.

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