Dear Cleo 18 12 16

In my continuing quest to learn about art, this morning I went to the Dulwich Picture Gallery to see the current exhibition they have of the work of Jusepe Rivera.

It was a small exhibition with about ten large paintings and thirty or forty drawings. Rivera was the heir to Caravaggio and in his subject matter he is the precursor of Goya and the Chapman Brothers, his tenebrist canvases bear full testament to this. Rivera painted pictures of human suffering and when you look at them you just want it to stop.

I empathised with the victims of the torture of, Saint Bartholomew, Saint Sebastian and Marsyas, the painting really were horrific in an inquisition type of way.

Ribera’s drawings were not that far away from my own sketchbook studies though on a different subject and I was encouraged by this.

I was lucky enough to see the performance piece Animalis by the Dame Hurst Company that really brought home the horror of torture. I have seen the news photos of the Iraq victims but I never imagined the true horror that they went through until now.

Leaving aside the emotional aspect of the exhibition, what did I learn? I  I learned that I need to spend more time with the lay figure so that I can imagine how the weight of a figure impacts on the depiction and composition of a scene.



Payne, E. & Bray, X.(2018) Ribera the Art of Violence. Lewes: Giles

The Exhibition

The Dulwich Picture Gallery (2018) Ribera the Art of Violence. At: (Accessed 16/12/18)

What the press said

Da Siva, J. (2018) Under the skin of Jusepe de Ribera’s “extreme violence” at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. At: (Accessed 25/11/18)

Grovier, K. (2018) Ribera: Was this a vision of a sadist. At: (Accessed 25/11/18)

Higgins, C (2018) Master of gore: the violent, shocking genius of Jusepe de Ribera. At: (Accessed 25/11/18)

Jones, J. (2018) Ribera: Art of violence review- savage masterpieces lay brutality bare. At: (Accessed 25/11/18)

Luke, B. (2018) Ribera-Art of Violence review: Gory details exude raw power and beauty. At: (Accessed 25/11/18)

Prodger, M. (2018) What pain looks like: the visceral art of Jusepe de Ribera. At: (Accessed 25/11/18)

Sooke, A. (2018) Ribera: Art of Violence, Dulwich Picture Gallery, review: Physical agony laid bare, this exhibition is compelling- but traumatising. At: (Accessed 25/11/18)