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Jose (Hussepe) de Ribera was born in 1591 in Xativa, Spain. He got his nickname because he lived and worked in Naples, in Italy.
He is attributed to the Karavagists, that is, to the flow in painting, following the principles of the image laid down by Caravaggio and his students, followers. This style is characterized by the use of a sharp contrast of light and shadow: the images use a very dark background and pronounced illumination of the figures in the foreground, which makes them more voluminous and expressive.
De Ribera was not only a talented painter, but also a very famous graphic artist. He is considered the largest Spanish schedule to work before Francisco Goya. Many works remained after him, most of which are in the Prado Museum, as well as in the churches of Naples.
Data on the young years of the artist are scattered. There is evidence that he studied drawing with F. Ribalta and in about 1613 he moved to Italy. In Rome and Parma, he, as was customary in those days, studied mastery by copying and studying the work of recognized talents of past centuries.
In 1616 he married a Neapolitan woman and a donkey in this city. Most of his works preserved to this day are dated precisely to the period of residence in Naples. It is worth adding that this city at that time actually belonged to Spain as part of the Sicilian kingdom.
Numerous rumors and legends circulated about Caravaggio’s personality and de Ribera himself. People were struck by the unique ability to realistically convey the torment of people. His canvases were very expressive and naturalistic. If we add to this the traditional expressiveness of the Karavajists and the traditions of shade-born, it becomes clear where such rumors came from.
De Ribera masterfully mastered the modeling of contours with the help of light and shadow, in addition, he worked for many years in prisons, where he observed interrogations and torture of people, making sketches and sketches. Like Michelangelo before him, there were rumors about de Ribera that he tortured and even killed sitters in order to obtain the most reliable image of suffering.
The artist’s works show a tendency towards religious, mythological and historical themes. But with age, his creative manner undergoes a change. He uses light and color differently, harsh contrast disappears, softer midtones, moon and sun shades of color appear. Works often gain volume through the use of embossed paint layer. The master used sharp, expressive brush strokes to give the canvas expression.
One of the artist’s most famous paintings is “Saint Inessa and the Angel Covering Her Veil”, written in 1641, in the later years of her work. It is characteristic of baroque and is fully consistent with de Ribera's approach to such images. It is filled with soft, golden hues, it is expressive and realistic, impresses with its original composition with an emphasized diagonal, which gives dynamism to a static image.
The master died in 1652 in Naples.