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From the collection of Isabel de Farnesio, This work was deposited in 1940 in the Colon House-Museum in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the deposit was raised in September of last year to proceed with its study and restoration.
Picture Saint Jerome writing It was attributed to the Valencian painter Esteban March. Recently, Gianni Papi, a specialist in Caravaggist painting, identified it and published it as early work by José de Ribera. The reasons that support this attribution are based on their close compositional and stylistic similarities with various paintings made by that painter around 1615, such as some of those that make up the series of "The Senses".
With them he shares a descriptive precision and a very gloomy use of light, which has its origin in a very personal assimilation of the caravaggio models. Given the interest of the work, it has been brought to the Prado in order to proceed with its restoration and its exhibition in the rooms dedicated to naturalism and Ribera. To replace this painting, the Colon House-museum has received a deposit from San Andrés, also from Ribera.
From the point of view of Prado collection, it is an important addition, because together with The raising of Lazarus It allows the public to form an exact idea of the originality and the level of quality that the painter reached during his first active years, a very unique stage in his career, and which until a dozen years ago was not represented in the galleries from the Prado.
The painting arrived at the Museum with problems around its perimeter, due to humidity and an old attack by xylophages, and with a pictorial surface that, while retaining its integrity, presented an anomalous appearance, due to the oxidation of its varnishes, the irregularities of its surface that produced an old coating, and a previous selective cleaning, which had concentrated in some areas to the detriment of others.
During his restoration process its edges have been settled and regularized, pollution and oxidized varnishes have been eliminated, some punctual faults have been reinstated, and the painting has been subjected to a cleaning that has resulted in the recovery of numerous spatial planes and, with it, of the corporeity of the saint.
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