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Durham University

School of Modern Languages & Cultures

Events in Modern Languages & Cultures

Art Lecture at Auckland Castle: 'The Five Senses in the Art of Jusepe de Ribera' given by Dr Edward Payne [Meadows Museum, Dallas, USA]

23rd February 2015, 18:00, Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland, Co Durham

The Five Senses in the Art of Jusepe de Ribera (Dr Edward Payne), Meadows/Mellon/Prado Curatorial Fellow, Meadows Museum, Dallas, USA 

Refreshments will be served from 6pm, followed by the lecture at 7.00pm. This is the final lecture in a series on Spanish Art, arranged in partnership with Durham University and The Bowes Museum. 

Central to the art of Jusepe de Ribera (1591–1652) is a profound interest in sensory perceptions. During his early years in Rome, Ribera executed a series of five paintings representing the five senses. After establishing himself in Naples, he embarked on a short-lived career as a printmaker; among his earliest etchings are studies of eyes, ears, noses and mouths. The senses remained of considerable importance to the artist, as demonstrated not only in his later allegories of the subject, but also in his frequent portrayals of mythological and religious violence. Taking as its focus a selection of Ribera’s images of violent themes, this lecture will argue that these works reveal not a hierarchy of the senses but, rather, a complex, multi-sensory experience of bodily suffering. We will examine his depictions of Tityus and Prometheus, which represent the gruesome moment when the giants’ intestines are devoured by a bird; Apollo and Marsyas, which capture the satyr screaming in agony as he is flayed alive by Apollo; and the Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew, one of Ribera’s most frequent subjects, in which the apostle is skinned alive for his Christian faith. Ultimately, this lecture will explore the visceral nature of Ribera’s violent works, which call upon sensory experiences in order to arouse the emotions and passions in the beholder. 

Free, booking essential. To book a place: Please call 01388743750, or email

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