Antiques -
Reference: Z6742

"Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew". Painting on vellum. According to the model by Ribera y Cucó, José (Játiva, 1591 – Nápoles, 1652). The composition is organized around the diagonal drawn by the trunk of the tree to which the old man is tied. The soldier on the right is skinning him, while another figure on the left balances and harmonizes the painting. This is the way in which Bartholomew the Apostle was martyred: according to tradition, the king of Armenia Astiages ordered him to worship his idols, which he refused, ordering him to be flayed. Virtually all the elements of the work can be related to the Italian school, while the composition follows common models in the 17th century Baroque. The coloring shows the work far removed from the Caravaggesque tenebrism that was common at the time, and does not present contrasts in lighting, in addition to reminding works more in the line of classicist baroque or even earlier Mannerism. José de Ribera y Cucó was a Spanish-born painter and engraver who developed his entire career in Italy, where he was known as Giuseppe Ribera and by the nickname “Lo Spagnoletto”. His style evolved from the tenebrism of Caravaggio towards a much more luminous aesthetic influenced by figures such as Van Dyc, and he contributed greatly to creating the "Neapolitan school" (in which Giovanni Lanfranco, Luca Guiordano... stand out). He was born in Játiva, and it is possible that he apprenticed with Francisco Ribalta, and, still a teenager, he went to northern Italy (Cremona, Milan, Parma), to later go to Rome, where he came into contact with classicist works (Reni and Ludovico Carracci ); He ended up settling in Naples. His work is preserved in important private collections around the world, as well as in institutions such as the Prado Museum and the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, the Capodimonte Museum in Naples, the Louvre in Paris, etc. The work is reminiscent of an oil on canvas made by José de Ribera between 1617 and 1619 for Pedro Téllez Girón III, Duke of Osuna and viceroy of Naples in those years, preserved in the Museo de Arte Sacro de Osuna in Seville (Old Osuna Collegiate Church). ). It was part of a group of five paintings (San Sebastián, San Pedro Penitente, San Jerónimo, el Ángel del Juicio and El Calvario, the latter commissioned by the Duchess and completed in 1618) that are known in the Collegiate Church as early as April 1627. This set is considered one of the most important at the beginning of his activity. However, it is possible to relate it much more closely with another work that presents a similar composition: one of the four etchings that Ribera made between 1624 and 1628: that of the "Martirio de San Bartolomé" is signed, dated (1624) and dedicated to the Prince Manuel Filiberto of Savoy, nephew of Felipe III and viceroy of Sicily. In this engraving and in the work on vellum, a figure to the left faces the viewer, holding two rods in his hands; the saint looks up, with his arms tied above his head, bent, and his legs drawn up, while a man skins him, holding a knife to his mouth; on the vellum, however, the male figures on the right that are in the engraving do not appear; the sky is different too. As already noted, the main differences are color and lighting, which place the present work closer to classicist baroque currents.

· Size: 10,5x15 cms. / 22x26,5 cms.

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