Property from a European Private Collection | 歐洲私人收藏

JUSEPE DE RIBERA, CALLED LO SPAGNOLETTO | Saint James the Greater | 胡塞佩・德・里貝拉 - 或稱洛・斯帕尼奧萊托 | 《聖大雅各伯》

Auction Closed

December 4, 08:03 PM GMT


300,000 - 400,000 GBP

Lot Details


Property from a European Private Collection



胡塞佩・德・里貝拉 - 或稱洛・斯帕尼奧萊托

Játiva, Valencia 1591 - 1652 Naples


Saint James the Greater


signed and dated on the piece of paper: Jusepe de Ribera español/ F. 1646

款識:藝術家簽名並紀年Jusepe de Ribera español/ F. 1646(紙上)

oil on canvas


85.5 x 69 cm.; 33⅝ x 27⅛ in.

85.5 x 69公分;33 ⅝ x 27 ⅛英寸

Acquired by the father of the present owner;

Thence by descent.

N. Spinosa and A.E. Peréz Sánchez, Jusepe de Ribera 1591–1652, Naples 1992, p. 262, cat. no. 1.92;

N. Spinosa, Ribera, Naples 2003, p. 335, cat. no. A277, reproduced in black and white;

N. Spinosa, Ribera: L'opera completa, Naples 2006, p. 369, cat. no. A307, reproduced in black and white;

N. Spinosa, Ribera: La obra completa, Madrid 2008, p. 465, cat. no. A334, reproduced in black and white.

This enigmatic representation of Saint James the Greater likely formed part of a series of Apostles, a subject that gained greatly in popularity during the Counter-Reformation. The saints were usually depicted as half-length figures against a neutral background, holding their iconographical attributes. A fundamental aspect of Ribera’s celebrity is based on the way he breathed into his figures of Apostles and Philosophers of Antiquity the sense of them being portraits drawn from life; unique personalities that transmit to the viewer an effect of presence and of questioning, at the same time real and supernatural. This representation of Saint James the Greater is an eloquent example of Ribera’s deep interest in the naturalistic depiction of his subjects and in the play of light and shadows that are here described with the tremendous virtuosity of his brush. A variant of this depiction of Saint James the Greater, although more closely cropped and with the apostle holding up a large book, was offered at Sotheby’s Milan, 9 June 1999, lot 760, and is today in a private collection in Naples.

Ribera was one of the most influential painters of the entire Baroque period. Born near Valencia, Spain, he travelled to Italy as a young man and his presence is recorded there in 1611, the year in which he is paid for an altarpiece in Parma. A document dated 27 October 1613 notes Ribera's admittance to the Accademia di San Luca in Rome, suggesting that he had already completed a number of commissions by this date. In April 1615 and March 1616 he is recorded as living in a house with other painters in via Margutta. A recently discovered document from 1612 describes the artist asking his landlord for authorisation to make a window in the roof of his studio; a single overhead light source was a lesson that he and other artists had learnt from Caravaggio and can clearly be discerned in the present work. Ribera was still in Rome in May 1616 but moved to Naples in the summer of that year. It was in that city that his reputation grew, both within Italy and abroad, and although he lived and worked in Naples he received numerous commissions from Spain through the intercession of Spanish painters and dignitaries.1

One of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, Saint James the Greater is the patron saint of Spain. His remains are held in Santiago da Compostela in the far north-west of the country, one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in the Christian world.

1 Jusepe Martínez visited Ribera in Naples in 1625, as did Diego Velázquez five years later.