Lo Spagnoletto[little Spaniard], he achieved immense popularity and became court painter to the Spanish viceroy. In 1644 he was knighted by the pope. The influence of Caravaggio can be seen in Ribera's early works, somber in tone but dramatic in lighting contrasts and movement. Examples are Taste (c.1615; Wadsworth Athanaeum, Hartford, Conn.), Drunken Silenus (1626; Naples), and Martyrdom of St. Andrew (1628; Budapest). After c.1635, Ribera's art showed freer brushwork and brighter colors, often with silvery effects, in such works as Trinity (1636–37; Prado), The Martyrdom of St. Philip (1639; Prado), and Holy Family with St. Catherine (1648; Metropolitan Mus.). Ribera also produced a number of fine etchings. He is well represented in American museums, including the Hispanic Society, New York City, which has St. Paul. Ribera had many imitators in Italy and Spain.
See studies by E. Trapier (1952) and J. Brown (1973); exhibition catalog by C. Felton (1982).
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