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The Poet

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Image of The Poet

Jusepe de Ribera (aka Lo Spagnoletto)
Spanish, about 1591–1652

The Poet

about 1620–1621

Object Type: Print
Dimensions:
6 5/16 in. x 4 7/8 in. (16.03 cm x 12.38 cm)
Medium and Support: Etching on paper
Accession Number: 1999.0007.0126

Credit Line: Gift of Jean K. Weil in memory of Adolph "Bucks" Weil, Jr.


Ribera was best known in his lifetime as a painter, and his primary subjects were figural compositions depicting saints, Old Testament prophets, and others, often engaged in prayer or contemplation. This etching titled “The Poet” is related to those compositions but is not known to replicate a specific painting. Scholars have associated this full-length figure in voluminous robes with authors including the poet Virgil and the author Dante. More recent scholarship supports the connection with Virgil, noting that traditionally the poet’s tomb was thought to be located in Naples. Despite the lack of certainty with regard to the identity of the subject, the figure is an outstanding example of Ribera’s ability to suggest the effects of light, shadow, and tone associated with oil painting through the etching medium.
See Johnathan Brown, “The Prints and Drawings of Ribera,” in Jusepe de Ribera: lo Spagnoletto, 1591-1652 (Fort Worth: Kimball Art Museum, 1982) 72 and http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/30.54.69, accessed October 22, 2013.

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