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Jativa 1591 - Naples 1652

Ribera was born in Spain and had his first training there. Little is known about his early years in Italy. He may have been in Parma as early as 1610 or 1612, but surely was in Rome in 1615 and was made a member of the Accademia di San Luca in 1616. There he was obviously much interested in the art of Caravaggio and did a series of paintings of the five senses which exhibit distinct Caravaggesque light effects. These pictures had an intense, coarse naturalism that went beyond Caravaggio's and was to become one of the most distinctive features of Ribera's style. The artist moved to Naples in 1616, where he remained, except for a few brief trips, until his death. In Naples Ribera found sympathetic patrons in the aristocracy and in the religious orders. He came to be the most influential of all the Neapolitan painters and an arbiter of artistic taste. The 1630s witnessed a modification of his assertive naturalism toward a gentler refinement and more classical equilibrium. His etchings are among the most distinctive and powerful oeuvres in the history of Italian graphic art.