Colnaghi Collections_Vol 01 - Page 146

his left hand. Recent conservation has revealed the work’s fine
condition and extremely high quality, confirming its autograph
status. In his capacity for realism, Ribera is unsurpassed. This can
be seen here in the faithful rendering of the facial features of a
sitter who, although clearly of modest background, is chosen to
portray an important religious figure, the patron of lost causes.
That the Saint Judas belongs to the second series of Apostles painted
in Ribera’s early years in Naples is also confirmed by the existence
of three copies of works from this series, which were offered at
auction in 2007 as seventeenth-century Neapolitan school.9 These
three are copies of the Saint Philip with Galerie Sarti, Paris,10 a Saint
Bartholomew (the original of which is still untraced), as well as the
Fig. 20. 1 Jusepe de Ribera, Saint James, oil on panel,
78 x 65 cm, Naples, Quadreria dei Girolomini.
Fig. 20. 2 Jusepe de Ribera, Saint Peter, oil on panel, 78 x 65 cm,
Naples, Quadreria dei Girolomini.
Fig. 20. 3 Jusepe de Ribera, Saint Paul oil on panel, 78 x 65 cm,
Naples, Quadreria dei Girolomini.
Saint Judas presented here.
G ianni P api
A third series of Apostles painted by Ribera should probably
these two pictures, Saint Philip, is currently in the Galerie Sarti,
be dated to the early stages of the artist's first sojourn in Rome,
Paris (fig. 20.4),5 while the present location of the second work is
beginning in the summer of 1616. Only three works from this
unknown. The saint in the latter work was identified by Spinosa as
group are now known – Saint James, Saint Peter, and Saint Paul (figs.
Saint Judas Thaddeus, although the attribute of a lance suggests
20.1, 20.2 & 20.3) – all now in the Quadreria dei Girolamini. Each
that the apostle is more likely to be Saint Thomas. Spinosa also
measures 78 x 65 cm, which also suggests that they belong to the
identified two further paintings belonging to the same series: the
same series. The set must have must have been broken up by 1692,
Saint Peter in the University Art Museum in Bloomington, IN, and
as Carlo Celano records just these three works in the sacristy of the
the Saint Paul in a private collection, exhibited in Naples in 1991.6
church of the Girolamini in his Notizie published that same year.2
Not only are they of similar dimensions to the ex-Imperiali de
All three are close to the naturalistic style that Ribera developed in
Francavilla pair (62 x 50 cm and 65 x 49 cm, respectively), but
Rome and represent his first evolution from that idiom in Naples.
they relate stylistically, both dating to the early years of Ribera’s
Pigments are applied more thickly and brushstrokes are more
Neapolitan sojourn, ca. 1616-1617. Another work, a Saint James
blended, a development already evident in works produced by the
offered at auction in 2015 (fig. 20.5)7, probably comes from this set
artist during his final months in Rome, such as the Five Senses, two
of Apostles, given its size (63 x 49 cm) and composition.
depictions of Democritus (both in private collections) and the Saints
Peter and Paul (Strasbourg, Musée des Beaux-Arts).3
The present recently discovered canvas is of similar dimensions
and can be added to this same series. It represents Saint Judas
In 1992, when two paintings of identical size (65 x 50 cm) formerly
Thaddeus, identifiable by the adze held by the saint.8 The range of
in the Imperiali de Francavilla collection in Rome were included
compositional models devised by Ribera for this set of Apostles is
in a monographic show in Madrid and Naples, Nicola Spinosa
notable, especially given their reduced dimensions and bust-length
speculated about the existence of a second series of Apostles
format. The present work shows the saint in profile, brandishing
painted early in Ribera’s first Neopolitan period.4 The first of
the adze, the instrument of his martyrdom, gripped tightly in
For the two early series of Apostles (the so-called “minor” and Cussida sets), see:
Gianni Papi, “Il Maestro del Giudizio di Salomone e Ribera a Roma,” Paragone
629 (2002): pp. 22-43; Gianni Papi, Ribera a Roma (Soncino: Edizioni dei Socino,
2007); Gianni Papi, “Ancora sugli Apostoli Cussida di Ribera e qualche altra
aggiunta al suo catalogo romano,” Bulletin de l’association des historiens de l’Art italien,
Le Caravage aujourd’hui et autres études 15-16 (2010): pp. 93-104; Gianni Papi, Rome
de Barocci à Fragonard, exh. cat. (Paris: Galerie Tarantin, 2013), pp. 26-29; and
Guillaume Kazerouni and Guillaume Kientz, eds., Ribera à Rome, autour du premier
Apostolado, exh. cat. (Rennes and Strasbourg: Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes
and Musée des Beaux-Arts de Strasbourg, 2014).
Carlo Celano, Notizie del bello dell’antico e del curioso della città di Napoli per i signori
forestieri date dal canonico Carlo Celano (Naples: Giacomo Raillard,1692), II, p. 499.
It is also possible that Saints Peter and Paul may have been painted in Naples.
Nicola Spinosa in Jusepe de Ribera 1591-1652, eds. Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez and
Nicola Spinosa, exh. cat. (Madrid and Naples: the Museo del Prado and the
Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, 1992), pp. 124-125.
Nicola Spinosa, in Peintres Caravagesques Italiens. Peintres de la Réalité, exh. cat. (Paris:
Galerie Sarti, 2013), pp. 96-101.
See Nicola Spinosa, Ribera. La obra completa (Madrid: Fundación Arte Hispánico,
2008), pp. 330-331; Ferdinando Bologna, Battistello Caracciolo e il primo naturalismo a
Napoli, exh. cat. (Naples: Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, 1991): pp. 127 & 284.
Sotheby’s, New York, 29 January 2015, lot 48.
This identification was already proposed when the picture was offered for sale
at Asta Minerva, Rome, 15 November 2012, lot 40, as Follower of Ribera. The
same identification was also maintained, albeit with a question mark, by Viviana
Farina, Al sole e all’ombra di Ribera, who mentions the painting in passing as a work
by Ribera, datable to the artist’s Neapolitan period.
Christie’s, Milan, 28 November 2007, lots 12-14.
This work was wrongly catalogued as St. Francis, possibly because the traditional
attribute of the Cross had been painted out, even if traces of it are still visible.
Fig. 20.4 Jusepe de Ribera, Saint Philip, oil on canvas, 65 x 50 cm, Paris, Galerie Sarti.
Fig. 20.5 Jusepe de Ribera, Saint James, oil on canvas, 63 x 49
cm, ex-Sotheby’s, New York, 29 January 2015, lot 48.


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