Antiques -
Reference: Z6742

"Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew". Paint on vellum. According to Ribera and Cucó model, José (Játiva, 1591 - Naples, 1652).

The composition is organized around the diagonal that draws 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 Bartholomew the Apostle was martyred: according to tradition, the king of Armenia Astiages ordered him to worship his idols, which he refused, sending him to skin.
Virtually all the elements of the work can be related to the Italian school, while the composition follows usual models in the 17th-century Baroque. The color shows the work very far from the caravaggesco tenebrism that was common then, and also does not present light contrasts, in addition to remembering works more in the line of the classicist baroque or, even, of the previous Mannerism.
José de Ribera y Cucó was a painter and engraver born in Spain who developed his entire career in Italy, where he was known as Giuseppe Ribera and by the nickname "Lo Spagnoletto". His style evolved from Caravaggio's tenebrism towards a much brighter aesthetic influenced by figures such as Van Dyc, and contributed greatly to create the "Neapolitan school" (which highlights Giovanni Lanfranco, Luca Guiordano ...). He was born in Játiva, and it is possible that he learned with Francisco Ribalta, and, even as a teenager, he went to northern Italy (Cremona, Milan, Parma), to then go to Rome, where he comes 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, in addition to institutions such as the Prado Museum and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando de Madrid, the Capodimonte of Naples, the Louvre of Paris, etc.
The work is reminiscent of an oil on canvas 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 Museum of Sacred Art of Osuna in Seville (Former Collegiate Church of Osuna ). He was part of a group of five paintings (San Sebastián, San Pedro Penitente, San Jerónimo, the Angel of Judgment and El Calvario, the latter commissioned by the Duchess and finished in 1618) that are known in the Collegiate already in April 1627 This set is considered one of the most important at the beginning of its 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 "Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew" is signed, dated (1624) and dedicated to Prince Manuel Filiberto de Savoie, nephew of Philip III and viceroy of Sicily. In this engraving and in the work on vellum, a figure on the left looks at the viewer, holding two rods in his hands; the saint looks up, with his arms tied over his head, bent, and his legs folded, while a man skinns him, holding a knife in his mouth; in the vellum, however, the male figures on the right that are in the engraving are not presented; Heaven is also different. As already noted, the main differences are color and lighting, which place the present work closer to Baroque classicist currents."

· Size: 10,5x15 cms. / 22x26,5 cms.

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