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Автоперевод названия: «St Paul Отшельник»
Artist: Workshop of José de Ribera (1591–1652)
Alternative names: Spagnoletto, Jusepe de Ribera
Work location: Valencia, Naples, Rome
Title: St Paul the Hermit
Description: Paul of Thebaid was considered the first of the hermits of Egypt – men and women who, to escape persecution as Christians in the 3rd century, chose a life of solitude for the sake of contemplation and asceticism. According to tradition, Paul remained in the desert for almost ninety years, wearing only a garment of woven palm leaves and subsisting on fruit and bread. Edifying images of the hermits’ lives, expressing the value of penitence, were popular subjects in counter-reformation art. Ribera’s portrayal demonstrates a rare understanding of Caravaggio’s lesson. The depicted moment represents the story’s emotional climax, Paul’s ecstatic vision and mystic communion with God, symbolised by the light. The saint’s pose, with its reference to the crucified Christ, indicates his willingness to heed Christ’s call to follow him. His emaciated body is rendered with intransigent realism, every anatomical defect scrupulously transcribed. This stands in sharp contrast to the intense spirituality that radiates from his face. By working with a live model, the artist created an intensely human hero, a modern Saint Paul, and thus established an accessible role model for the faithful to emulate.
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: Height: 208 cm (81.9 in). Width: 157 cm (61.8 in).
Framed: Height: 232 cm (91.3 in). Width: 186 cm (73.2 in). Depth: 9 cm (3.5 in).
Inscriptions (Swedish): Signerad: Jusepe de Ribera espanol F.A. 1644