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Lot 51 - José de Ribera (Xàtiva, 1591 - Naples, 1652) - "Licurgo" [...]

Estimation : 130 000 € / 150 000 €

José de Ribera (Xàtiva, 1591 - Naples, 1652)
Oil on canvas. With the inscription "226 M de R" referring to the Marquis of Remisa´s collection. 128 x 95 cm.
- Certificate by Professor Nicola Spinosa dated 4th November 2016.
- Certificate by August L. Mayer dated 14th April 1935.
As Spinosa indicates in his explanation, the painting depicts Licurgo, the mythical and probably non-existent figure of a legislator of ancient Sparta, who lived between the 9th and 8th century BC, according to tradition.
Between 1629 and 1631, Ribera painted a series of twelve pictures depicting characters from Ancient Greece: philosophers, scientists, geographers and legislators, for the Viceroy of Naples, Fernando Enríquez Afán, Third Duke of Alcalá. Later these paintings were dispersed, and currently the whereabouts of only some of them are known.
At the beginning of the 1600s, in the intellectually and culturally advanced circles of Rome and Naples, there was a tendency towards Greco-Roman stoicism, and this type of series of paintings of philosophers was much in demand.
This explains why, as Spinosa notes, José de Ribera painted a second series from 1631, for an unknown nobleman, identical to that painted for the Third Duke of Alcalá. Through the presence of the name of “Liturgo” and the almost identical measurements, this painting is one of the second series, in Spinosa´s opinion, which was part of an important collection belonging to the Marquis of Remisa in Madrid (inventory number 226). Also from the Marquis of Remisa´s collection in Madrid (with inventory from 1856, number 223) the painting entitled “Thales of Miletus” is known, having the same measurements and being from the same series, it is now in a private collection in Paris (Spinosa 2008, p. 369, nº A109). These are the only two known paintings from the second series that remain.
Whatever the case, and as Dr. Spinosa affirms in his certificate, this is a fine example of the Spanish master´s output painted from 1631, in which the clean cut between light and shadow is outstanding, as well as the definition of the anatomical features, the precision of the clothing and the skin tones. Still influenced by the naturalist tendencies in the style of Caravaggio, which characterised Ribera´s painting until the end of his residence in Rome during his youth. The quality of the magnificent still life composition of the books and scrolls in the legislator´s hands is also outstanding.
- Marquis of Remisa collection. Inventory nº 226
- Lario Ariño collection until 1953.
- Private collection in Barcelona since 1958. Acquired from the previous owner.

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