This is the first exhibition in the UK dedicated to the Spanish Baroque painter, draughtsman and printmaker Jusepe de Ribera (1591–1652). Born in Játiva, Valencia, Ribera emigrated to Italy as a young artist. Proud of his Spanish heritage, he eventually settled in Naples, then a Spanish territory, but never again returned to Spain. A hybrid figure, Ribera had a significant influence on the art of both countries in the seventeenth century.
Introducing this artist to a UK audience, the exhibition focuses on some of Ribera’s most powerful images featuring saints and sinners, flaying and flogging. Ribera’s images of pain have often been described as shocking and even grotesque in their realism. In a common historiographical trope, the artist himself has been labelled as sadistic and violent. Challenging this long-standing interpretation, Ribera: Art of Violence will reveal the complex artistic, religious and cultural discourses underpinning the artist’s violent imagery in paint and on paper. This exploration will be anchored by a number of major loans from North American and European collections, with some works travelling to the UK for the first time.
A scholarly catalogue accompanies the exhibition, showcasing the new research which has informed the display.
Ribera: Art of Violence is co-curated by ARTES committee member Dr Edward Payne, author of a PhD thesis on the theme of violence in Ribera’s art (2012) and contributor to the catalogue raisonné of Ribera’s drawings (2016), and Dr Xavier Bray (Director, The Wallace Collection), former Arturo and Holly Melosi Chief Curator at Dulwich Picture Gallery, and curator of the National Gallery’s exhibitions The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture 1600–1700 (2009) and Goya: The Portraits (2015).