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Durham University

School of Modern Languages & Cultures

Events in Modern Languages & Cultures

School Lecture Series: Ribera and the Art of Rivalry

22nd November 2018, 16:00, ER146 (Elvet Riverside 1), Dr Edward Payne

Flayed skin, pierced flesh, contorted bodies and twisted expressions. The Spanish Baroque painter, draughtsman and printmaker, Jusepe de Ribera (1591–1652), has long been celebrated for such depictions of human suffering. Born in Játiva, Valencia, Ribera spent most of his career in Naples, where he influenced many artists including Luca Giordano and Salvator Rosa. He is often regarded as the heir to Caravaggio for his dramatic use of light and shadow, and his practice of painting directly from the live model. His works had a profound impact on the development of seventeenth-century art across Europe.

This lecture will explore the themes of violence and rivalry in Ribera’s art, demonstrating how his works are neither the product of his supposed sadism nor the expression of a purely aesthetic interest. Rather, they involve a complex artistic, religious and cultural engagement in the depiction of bodily suffering, challenging viewers to experience the arresting images beyond their initial shock. The lecture will offer a unique perspective on Ribera’s art of violence by addressing its full thematic range not only in painting, but also in prints and drawings. Situating his works within their historical context, the lecture will underscore the relevance of Ribera’s violent imagery in contemporary art and society.

Exceptionally, this presentation will preview the exhibition Ribera: Art of Violence (26 September 2018 – 27 January 2019), co-curated by Edward Payne and Xavier Bray at Dulwich Picture Gallery. A special tour of the exhibition for interested staff and students at Durham University will be offered on Thursday 13th December 2018, 14:00–16:00.

Please note that the event will be broadcast via facebook live in our Durham Modern Languages and Cultures Students facebook page: