This autumn, Dulwich Picture Gallery will present 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 will focus 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 will accompany 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).
The exhibition will be accompanied by an exciting series of events, from an international study day to Animalis, a contemporary dance performance. Here is a selection of the most interesting…
- Ribera: Curator’s Introduction with Dr Edward Payne, 27 September 2018, 12.30pm–1.30pm
- Skin Deep, a workshop on tattoos and skin art led by Dr Matt Lodder, tattoo historian, and Alex Binnie, tattoo artist. 19 October 2018, 7–9.30pm
- From the Collection: The Aftermath of Violence, a journey through shock, grief, acceptance and healing, led by Jennifer Scott, The Sackler Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery, and based on works by Carlo Dolci, Rubens, Van Dyck and Poussin in the Gallery’s collection. 2 November 2018, 12.30–1.30pm
- Ribera: Curator’s Introduction with Dr Xavier Bray, 8 November 2018, 7.30pm–8.30pm
- Beneath The Skin of Ribera’s Bodies, a lecture by Dr Jack Hartnell, Lecturer in Art History at the University of East Anglia. The lecture will reveal the complex and fascinating ways in which the people of the Middle Ages thought about, explored and experienced their physical selves. 30 November 2018, 12.30pm–1.30pm
- Ribera Study Day, a day of in-depth discussions around the role of violence in art, which will bring together a range of multi-disciplined creative and scholarly minds to prod, probe and discuss profound questions exploring the many facets of Ribera’s work. 10 December 2018, 2.00pm–5.00pm
- Art and Violence in Renaissance Florence, a lecture by Dr Scott Nethersole, Senior Lecturer in Italian Renaissance Art at The Courtauld Institute of Art in London. This event will explore the relationship between art and violence in 15th-century Florence, exposing the underbelly of a period more often celebrated for enlightened and progressive ideas. 18 January 2019, 12.30–1.30pm
And last but not least, a curator-led tour for ARTES members, which will take place on 28 September 2018 from 9.00am.