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Jusepe de Ribera

Játiva 1591 - 1652 Naples
Price range
250,000 – 3,000,000 USD +
Jusepe de Ribera, also known as Lo Spagnoletto on account of his Spanish origin, was one of Caravaggio’s most gifted followers and the best painter in Naples where he settled after 1616.

Jusepe de Ribera was known as Lo Spagnoletto on account of his Spanish origin, which was obviously important to him as he often signed ‘hispanus’. However, at an early age, in around 1605, he moved to Rome where he may have worked in the studio of Caravaggio. In any event he was profoundly influenced by Caravaggio (1571–1610) and was one of his most gifted followers. His earliest multi-figural works, such as the Denial of St Peter (Galleria Nazionale d’Arte, Palazzo Corsini, Rome) have a decorous elegance combined with a dramatic intensity which recalls Caravaggio’s famous St Matthew series painted for San Luigi dei Francesi. While Ribera was working for major forward-looking patrons such as Vincenzo Giustiniani, he also worked for the Spanish community, notably Pietro Cussida (d. 1622) for whom he painted a famous series of The Five Senses. At around this time he also came into contact with Dutch Caravaggesque painters notably Dirck van Baburen (1595–1624) and Hendrick Ter Brugghen (1588–1629). Like them he developed a clientele for single figure paintings of Philosophers, usually rough and ready men in unkempt costumes, holding a book.

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Selected artworks

Top 3 auction prices

4,893,238 $
6,189,500 $
7,405,127 $


The sales are: Sotheby’s London – 4 Jul 1990 lot 83 (2,750,000 GBP), Sotheby’s London – 8 Jul 2009 lot 28 (3,849,250 GBP), and Sotheby’s London – 3 Jul 2019 lot 24 (5,893,000 GBP).
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Notable exhibitions

Madrid, Museo del Prado, The Young Ribera, 5 April – 28 August 2011. Curated by José Milicua and Javier Portús; travelled to Naples, Museo di Capodimonte, Il Giovane Ribera tra Roma, Parma e Napoli, 1608–1624, 23 September 2011 – 8 January 2012. Curated by Nicola Spinoza.

Madrid, Museo del Prado, Jusepe de Ribera, 1591–1652, 2 June – 16 August 1992; travelled to New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 18 September – 29 November 1992. Curated by Alfonso E Pérez Sánchez; Nicola Spinosa.

Fort Worth, Kimbell Art Museum, Jusepe de Ribera, lo Spagnoletto: 1591–1652, 4 December 1982 – 6 February 1983. Curated by Craig Felton and William B. Jordan.


Books on Jusepe de Ribera

Gianni Papi, Ribera a Roma, Soncino, 2007.

Nicola Spinosa, Ribera, Naples, 2006.

Alfonso E Pérez Sánchez and Nicola Spinosa, Jusepe de Ribera 1591-1652, exh. cat., New York, 1992.

Antonio Palomino de Castro y Lelasco, Lives of the Eminent Spanish Painters and Sculptors, 1715-24, trans. Nina Alaya Mallory, Cambridge, 1987.

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