The Louvre Pre-empts a Ribera

Jusepe de Ribera (1588-1656)
Saint John Evangelist
Oil on Canvas - 105 x 83 cm
Pre-empted by the Musée du Louvre
Photo : Oger Blanchet

27/3/12 - Acquisition - Paris, Musée du Louvre - The Musée du Louvre, during the Oger Blanchet auction at the Hôtel Drouot on 26 March 2012, pre-empted a painting by Jusepe Ribera representing Saint John Evangelist, for 285,000€ (without charges), immediately after being acquired by the Parisian dealer, Giovanni Sarti.

This work, unpublished to date, was painted by the Spanish artist around 1607-1608 while in Rome, before his trip to Parma, according to Nicola Spinosa. If it had been found a few years ago, it would probably have been attributed to the Master of Solomon’s Judgement, this anonymous painter who for a long time was considered French and who Gianni Papi identified as the young Ribera, a theory which is now accepted by specialists although certain works remain under debate for some (see this article).
Although the Louvre holds many works by Ribera, until now it did not own any from his early career before arriving in Naples. This Saint John belongs to a series of 13 paintings representing the apostles and Christ (an Apostolado) of which three elements probably belonging to the same ensemble are known. A Saint Matthew resides in Paris in the collection of a well-known art historian, a Saint Thomas is held at the Szepmuveszeti Muzeum in Budapest, a probable Saint James the Minor is on the Madrid art market (Galeria Caylus) at the moment, while Christ Giving His Blessing is in the church of Nivillac, in the Morbihan region of Brittany.

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Didier Rykner, mercredi 28 mars 2012

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