Spanish painting

"The Apostles at the Tomb of Christ", Francisco Ribalta - description of the painting

  • Author: Francisco Ribalta
  • Museum: Hermitage
  • Year: 1590s
  • Click image for larger version

Description of the picture:

Apostles at the tomb of Christ - Francisco Ribalta. 1590s Canvas, oil. 90 x 64.5 cm

This picture is one of many biblical works. It reflects the moment when the followers of Christ, his apostles, came to the tomb and found it empty. The artist was able to vividly reflect the very moment of discovering the absence of a dead body and the final realization that the one whom they considered their teacher is a real God-man.
On the faces of the apostles mixed different feelings. Here and shock mixed with the surprise of the young Apostle John, who wrung his hands, deep sadness and concern - with the gray-bearded elders. The composition of the picture is multi-figured, but in the foreground two figures in full growth are fully accessible to the viewer — the youngest of the apostles, John, and obviously Peter, the faithful follower of Christ. Compositionally, the figures are shifted to the side, so that the viewer can see the reason for visiting the burial cave - a stone coffin with mortal swatings thrown back. The background of the canvas is the dark and rough stone walls of the cave, almost imperceptible in the dark.
The color scheme of the picture is rich, but restrained. The very bright here are the cloaks of apostles rich and deep golden tones. The canvas uses the principle of contrasting light and shadow, introduced in Caravaggio's painting. Most of the paintings are drowning in the dark, and the protruding illuminated details give the figures volume, relief and dynamism.
The gloomy darkness of the cave and the sadness of the event itself seem to recede under the rays of divine golden light pouring from the side of an empty stone sarcophagus. This can be seen in the illuminated fragments of the clothing of the holy elders and in the shadows on the floor cast by the coffin. Although the light falls from the entrance to the cave, it is clear that this is not just the rays of the sun or the moon. This is the divine light of revelation, which will help you not to get lost in the darkness of ignorance and superstition.

Other paintings by Francisco Ribalta

St. Bernard
Nailing the cross
Sermon of San Vicente Ferrera

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