24 de abril de 2011

Francisco Ribalta - Christ Embracing St. Bernard Clairvaux

Christ embracing St. Bernard Clairvaux - 1625
Prado Museum - Madrid - Spain

Francisco Ribalta was a spanish painter of the Baroque period, mostly of religious subjects. He reached the pinnacle of his mature style with his painting "Christ Embracing St. Bernard" which transformed the Spanish Baroque and which I find very beautiful once it reflects de Resurrection of Christs in a very original way
"Christ breaks down the wall of death, and in Him there resides the fullness of God, which is life, eternal life".
In doing so, Ribalta discards  Mannerist conventions for a new type of naturalism and so he became Valencia’s leading artist set a course for Spanish art that paved the way for masters such as Velázques, Zurbarán, and Rivera. With its virile realism, Christ Embracing St. Bernard archives a synthesis of naturalism and religiosity that defined the art of the seventeenth-century Counter Reformation. Playing off rapturous limpness against divine strength, and the human against the transcendent, the painting shows both a scene of devout piety and of distinctly human interaction. The corporality of Christ’s body (descended from the Cross), as well as the careful attention to the draping of St. Bernard’s habit (juxtaposed with the almost nude and suspended body of Christ), give a sense of intimacy and weighty presence to a mystical vision. In its introspective and expressive depiction of deep religious experience, the painting proposes a redemptive vision of mankind. The sculptural modeling and dramatic chiaroscuro that define the two figures – against a stark background in which two others are barely visible – recall Italian tenebrists such as Caravaggio . Although it is uncertain whether Ribalta ever visited Italy, the painting reflects many of the features of the Italian Baroque, and is most likely drawn from a replica of Caravaggio alterpiece Ribalta is known to have copied.
Source: Net, João Ribas - Prado Museum

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