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Saint James the Elder

  • 'Saint James the Elder'. Seville Museum of Fine Arts © Ministerio de Cultura

    'Saint James the Elder'. Seville Museum of Fine Arts © Ministerio de Cultura






Cultural background


Original title

Santiago el Mayor
Seville Museum of Fine Arts
Seville, Andalusia

The triumph of Baroque Tenebrism

This work is outstanding for the skilled use of light and the strong modelling of the drawing, in which Ribera's mastery of the engraving technique was clearly fundamental.

There are numerous examples still surviving of the paintings he made of individual saints, such as this serene and balanced image of Saint James the Apostle, dated in 1634. The sobriety of the composition concentrates attention on the main elements of the painting, where he recreates the qualities of the materials with dense brushstrokes.

Ribera spent most of his life in Naples under the protection of the Spanish viceroys. The Italian influence was therefore a key element of his artistic education. His early works reveal his debt to Caravaggio, and are characterised by their Tenebrist qualities. His painting style was also enriched by the classicism of Rome and Bologna and the pictorial style and colouring of Venice.

Details of the work


120 x 97 cm.

Oil painting



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