JUSEPE DE RIBERA

Xàtiva, 1591 – Naples, 1652

Saint Onuphrius

Oil on canvas

99.5 x 74.8 cm

Scroll down

JUSEPE DE RIBERA

Xàtiva, 1591 – Naples, 1652

Though the last digit of the date at the lower left is illegible, this canvas likely dates to the mid 1630s, a period when Ribera’s palette starts to lighten. Despite this, Saint Onuphrius is painted with an intense tenebrism, directly recalling the style of Caravaggio, with the figure emerging from the darkness, as is nearly always the case with Ribera’s half-length depictions of anchorite saints, such as Onuphrius, Jerome, Anthony and Paul of  Thebes.

The subject of these holy men, popularised in Rome at the beginning of the 17th century, was the perfect vehicle through which Ribera could display his mastery of stark realism. Their emaciated and shrivelled bodies, matted hair and thick beards, allowed Ribera to give rein to his unique skill at rendering texture and skin, building up the wrinkles and folds of flesh with loaded impasto brushstrokes.

Technical data

JUSEPE DE RIBERA

Xàtiva, 1591 – Naples, 1652

Saint Onuphrius

Oil on canvas

99.5 x 74.8 cm