Jose de Ribera was a 17th-century Spanish painter and engraver. One of the most famous representatives of the realistic school of Valencia, who skillfully used the sharp contrast of light and shadow. In his works, José de Ribera, like other caravaggists, uses a deliberately dark background and brightly lit faces, which makes the image as expressive and voluminous as possible.
Biography of José de Ribera
José de Ribera was born on January 12, 1591 near Valencia. In Spain, he studied with the painter Francisco Ribalta, and in Rome he joined the caravaggists, who worked in dark rooms with a small window on top for brighter chiaroscuro.
José de Ribera moved to Italy when he was just over 20 years old and stayed in this country for the rest of his life. At first he had to wander without a livelihood, but already in 1616 he remained in Naples.
In this enlightened city, his talent was appreciated. One of the early works of the young draftsman aroused the interest of Duke Pedro de Osuna, who at that time was Viceroy of Naples. He gave José de Ribera an honorary position as a painter at court.
Passion for engraving
Soon the Spanish authorities, having learned about the anti-state intrigues of Pedro de Osuna, removed him from business. The painter was left without high patronage, but during this period he became seriously interested in engraving. A few years later, the talented young man became the most famous engraver in Italy. It was he who discovered that images can be embossed, using not only contrasting lighting, but also applying tiny lines with a needle.
Luck again smiled at the painter when another connoisseur of art, the Duke de Alcala, became Viceroy of Naples. At this time, José de Ribera was a member of the Academy of St. Luke, operating in Rome. In 1629 he again became court painter.
José de Ribera’s fame reached its peak when he was visited by Diego Velázquez, the favorite artist of the Spanish king. After this visit, the painter’s works, so highly valued in Italy, began to be ordered from him in his homeland. The painter and engraver died in Naples on September 2, 1652.
Interesting facts about José de Ribera
The fame and fame received by the artist at court had a somewhat eerie connotation. There were terrible legends about Jose de Ribera, the echoes of which have survived to this day. Blame his extravagant creative techniques: for many years he made sketches in prisons, depicting the behavior of prisoners under torture. These observations are reflected in his early works, where death and mutilation look extremely realistic. A veil of obscurity still hangs over the secret of the outstanding Spanish artist. Art historians and psychologists around the world are still arguing, sometimes justifying the talented painter, sometimes looking for new facts proving his obsession.