King David

Jusepe de Ribera (Xátiva 1591-1652 Naples)

Oil on canvas 126 x 91 cm (49.6 x 35.8 in.) 1616

The power of this image – its command of the picture field, even extending into the viewer´s space – can only belong to Jusepe de Ribera. The same goes for the recognizable elements of style: the swiftness of handling, including the long strokes of the brush that give a mimetic, almost tactile quality to the fur and beard, in the infallible definition of contours in spite of that speed of execution, in the spectacular confidence with which the composition is conceived and realized.

This new image of an individual, isolated and imposing, can be added to the gallery of monumental figures created by the Spanish painter in the 1610´s. This David indeed showed the characteristic style of the still young Ribera, at the end of his Roman sojourn (or just after his move to Naples, so in 1616).

No one had ever seen such potent, vivid, figures involve beholders and interact with them, proudly occupying the space. Since nothing of this kind exists in Caravaggio´s surviving work, this is a fundamental contribution by Ribera (and as we know it was far from the only one) to the regeneration of iconography that took place in the Papal City with respect to the language of naturalism introduced by great Lombard at the beginning of the century.

More details
G. Papi, ´Una creatividad prodigiosa´ in Ars Magazine, 16, 2012, p. 66, reproduced p. 67


Galerie G. Sarti

"Old Master Paintings"

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