PREVIEW: Ribera: Art of Violence, Dulwich Picture Gallery

The Dulwich Picture Gallery will present the first UK show dedicated to the Spanish Baroque painter, on display from the 26th September. 

Ribera - St Sebastian Tended by the Holy Women
(C) Jusepede  Ribera, Saint  Sebastian  Tended  by  the  Holy  Women,  c.1620-23,  ©Bilboko  Arte  Ederren.Museoa-Museo  de  Bellas  Artes  de  Bilbao.

The exhibition is set to feature eight canvases to be displayed alongside a selection of drawings and prints to explore the theme of violence throughout Jusepe de Ribera’s work.

Bringing together forty pieces of the artist’s work, the display will be arranged thematically to closely look at Ribera’s images of saintly martyrdom and mythological violence, skin and the five senses, crime and punishment and the bound male figure.

Often regarded as the ‘heir’ to Caravaggio for the way in which he used light and shadow, as well as  his practice of painting directly from the live model, Ribera has been celebrated for his images of human suffering, a popular subject for artists during the Catholic Counter-Reformation.

This exhibition will begin with a room that is dedicated to religious violence and will concentrate on the artist’s portrayals of the martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew, who was flayed alive for his Christian faith. Highlights will include three versions of the Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew spanning Ribera’s career.

Ribera: Art of Violence is curated by Dr Edward Payne, Head Curator: Spanish Art, The Auckland Project, County Durham, contributor to the catalogue raisonné of Ribera’s drawings (2016) and author of a PhD thesis on the theme of violence in Ribera’s art (2012), and Dr Xavier Bray, Director, The Wallace Collection, former Chief Curator, Dulwich Picture Gallery and curator of the 2009 exhibition The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture 1600–1700 (National Gallery, London).

Talking about the exhibition co-curator Dr Edward Payne said: “Ribera: Art of Violence will provoke a sense of surprise, shock and awe in visitors. Beyond merely introducing audiences to the work of this major artist, the exhibition will reveal the immediacy and complexity of Ribera’s images of violence. The show will call upon visitors to play a central role – not as passive onlookers but as active participants – in the theatre of Ribera’s scenes of human suffering.”

Ribera: Art of Violence will be on display at the Dulwich Picture Gallery from the 26th September until the 27th January 2019. For more information visit:

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