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PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Jusepe de Ribera, called Spagnoletto
SAINT TERESA OF AVILA (1515–82)
Estimate
150,000200,000
LOT SOLD. 122,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
21

PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Jusepe de Ribera, called Spagnoletto
SAINT TERESA OF AVILA (1515–82)
Estimate
150,000200,000
LOT SOLD. 122,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale

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London

Jusepe de Ribera, called Spagnoletto
JÁTIVA, VALENCIA 1591 - 1652 NAPLES
SAINT TERESA OF AVILA (1515–82)
signed and dated lower right: Jusepe de Ribera español / f. 1644
oil on canvas
123 by 97 cm.; 48 1/2  by 38 1/4  in.
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Provenance

French private collection, from the 1850s;
Until sold, London, Sotheby's, 9 July 1998, lot 76, for £150,000, where acquired by the present owner.

Literature

N. Spinosa, L'opera completa del Ribera, Milan 1978, p. 136, cat. no. 366, reproduced (erroneously listed as in the Abbeville collection);
N. Spinosa, Ribera, Naples 2006, p. 368, cat. no. A303, reproduced;
N. Spinosa, Ribera, La obra completa, Madrid 2008, p. 463, cat. no. A330, reproduced.

Catalogue Note

This powerful depiction of Saint Teresa of Avila, the most important female religious figure and writer of the Spanish sixteenth century, was painted in 1644 by Jusepe de Ribera, one of Spain’s pre-eminent artists of the following century. Teresa and Ribera both played significant if very different roles in the Counter-Reformation: she, as a theologian and reformer of the Catholic Church, founding the Discalced Order of the Carmelites with Saint John of the Cross; he, as one of the leading exponents of the post-Tridentine aesthetic through the visual arts. It seems fitting that these two figures should thus be united in this signed and dated work which is typical of Ribera's production from the 1640s. 

By this stage in his career Ribera had reached the peak of his success, both artistically and commercially. His production focused on bust-length figures of saints depicted in a manner which shows to what extent he had succeeded in nuancing the Caravaggism of his early career into a style that was very much his own. The present design must have found notable success for an unsigned and undated replica, which Spinosa lists as autograph, is in the Museo de Bellas Artes in Valencia.1 A copy after the work is also listed as being in Seville.

Born Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada, the future saint took the Carmelite habit in 1536 at the convent of the Incarnation in Avila. Crudely referred to as a mystic, she would more likely have described herself as leading a life of contemplation. Her spiritual visions and personal descriptions of the various stages in the development of the soul on its journey towards the Godhead, most notably in the Castillo Interior, cemented her place as one of Spain's most popular saints. Gian Lorenzo Bernini immortalised her in marble in his Ecstasy of Saint Teresa (see fig. 1) in the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome. She was canonized in 1622 and named a Doctor of the Church in 1970.


1. See Spinosa, 2008, under Literature, p. 463, cat. no. A331, reproduced.

Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale

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London