(bapt. Játiva, nr. Valencia, 17 Feb. 1591; d Naples, 3 Sept. 1652). Spanish painter, etcher, and draughtsman, active for all his known career in Italy, where he was called ‘Lo Spagnoletto’ (the little Spaniard). He is recorded in Parma in 1611 and Rome in 1613, but little is known of his life before he settled in Naples (at the time a Spanish possession) in 1616. Naples was then one of the main centres of the Caravaggesque style, and Ribera is often described as a follower of Caravaggio. However, although his early work is markedly tenebrist, it is much more individual than that of most Caravaggesque artists, particularly in his vigorous and scratchy handling of paint, and his later works are far removed from Caravaggio in style—rich in colour and soft in modelling.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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