Master Paintings & Sculpture Part I

Master Paintings & Sculpture Part I

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 34. Saint Joseph with a plane and square.

Jusepe de Ribera, called lo Spagnoletto

Saint Joseph with a plane and square

Auction Closed

January 27, 05:11 PM GMT


150,000 - 200,000 USD

Lot Details


Jusepe de Ribera, called lo Spagnoletto

Játiva, Valencia 1591 - 1652 Naples

Saint Joseph with a plane and square

oil on canvas

canvas: 29 by 24 1/2 in.; 73.7 by 62.2 cm. 

framed: 40 by 35 in.; 101.6 by 88.9 cm.  


胡塞佩・德・里貝拉 - 或稱洛・斯帕尼奧萊托




畫布:29 x 24 1/2 英寸;73.7 x 62.2 公分

連框:40 x 35 英寸;101.6 x 88.9 公分

Possibly, Lieutenant Colonel Lowthorpe-Lutwidge, Holmrook Hall, Cumberland;
Possibly, by whom sold, London, Christie's, 21 November 1924, lot 82 (as Ribera, A Saint at his Devotions).

Ribera's honest and direct depiction of Saint Joseph displays the artist's mastery of startling and stark realism. The saint is shown here in a half-length format holding a plane and square, the attributes of his profession as a carpenter. The picture follows a tradition of similarly-rendered Saints shown in closely cropped formats and with stunningly sober realism. Ribera had painted such holy men—a subject that had been popular in Rome in the early decades of the seventeenth century—from the very beginning of his career. The saints he painted, often Jerome, Anthony Abbot, Paul the Hermit, or Onophrius, were interchangeable; thin and wizened figures of great mysticism and aestheticism, all with wrinkled skin and matted hair. What Ribera did vary, however, was the compositions in which he portrayed them, and the variety and invention that he employed in their execution is exceptional. He presented these images not simply as portraits, as did so many of his contemporaries, but as icons of spirituality. Paintings of the format of this Saint Joseph, however, were intended for private galleries, and they are listed in Neapolitan collections early on, sometimes by the name of the saint depicted and sometimes generically as 'Santi Anacoreti'.  They were avidly collected abroad as well; the artist's biographer De' Dominici despaired that trying to list all of the artist's easel pictures would be impossible, because having "passate per molte mani sono sparse in varie Città dell'Europe, ne sono a nostra notizia pervenute."1

We are grateful to Professor Nicola Spinosa for endorsing the attribution to Ribera. Professor Spinosa dates the picture to circa 1640.

1.  Trans. .. "passed through many hands are spread out in the various cities of Europe, and are thus lost to our knowledge": B. De' Dominici, Vite de'Pittori, Scultori ed Architetti Napoletani, Naples 1742, reprint Sala Bolognese 1979, vol. III, p. 14.