Colnaghi Foundation Journal 04 - Page 75



72
Painting techniques in the work of Jusepe de Ribera: a study based on development of the artist’s style
Fig 14 / James the Less, oil
on canvas, 109.3 x 87.5 cm,
Private Collection.
Fig 15 / X-ray detail of Fig. 14.
Fig 16 / Silenus, oil on canvas,
47 x 36.5 cm, Buenos Aires,
Jaime Eguiguren Arts &
Antiques.
As in his Roman phase, during his long period in
Naples Ribera also resorted to a grid to make the
figures fit correctly or occupy the correct position.
A few unconnected traces of brush marks have been
observed, with a high content of lead white, in a
painting of the apostle James the Less in a private
collection.18 These traces can be clearly discerned in
the upper part of the head and the ear (figs. 14 & 15).
Another type of underdrawing has been detected in a
figure in an important work that can be dated around
1634-1636, namely the Silenus in Buenos Aires which
formed part of a larger work damaged in the 1734
fire at the Alcázar in Madrid (fig. 16). The original
painting, of which only a few fragments survive,
depicted the Visit of Bacchus to Icarus. Technical
examination of the Silenus fragment showed the
presence of a precise underdrawing done in black,
defining the main anatomical elements, the eyelids
and lower part of the nose, traces of the hair, and
the line of the nose of another figure on his right.19
Certain technical aspects of Ribera’s working
practices which emerged in his Roman
period remained constant and later became
distinguishing features of the artist’s creative
methods, for instance the outlining of the profiles
of heads.
Painting techniques in the work of Jusepe de Ribera: a study based on development of the artist’s style
73

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