Spanish painting

"The Sermon of San Vicente Ferrera", Francisco Ribalta - description of the painting

  • Author: Francisco Ribalta
  • Museum: Hermitage
  • Year: Not dated
  • Click image for larger version

Description of the picture:

Sermon of San Vicente Ferrera - Francisco Ribalta. Canvas, oil. 178 x 111 cm

Vicente Ferrer, in the Slavic tradition - Vincent Ferrer - a 14th-century Catholic saint, preacher, philosopher and theologian, patron of Valencia. This Dominican monk is still revered in Spanish-speaking countries, including in Latin America.
In the picture, the saint is depicted preaching the word of God in the town square. Vicente Ferrer became famous for conducting active missionary work among ardent heretics, the Cathars and Waldenses. He was so eloquent and persuasive that he was able to return a large number of dissidents to Catholicism.
On the canvas, the viewer sees the moment of the saint's sermon, where the angel is the crowd, and Ferrer himself points his finger at him as confirmation of the truth of his words. According to the expression and style of painting, this picture is closer to the paintings of Dutch masters, especially if you pay attention to its lower part, with the image of an impressed and agitated crowd. The man in the hat and with the foamy collar on the clothes, which was clearly an anachronism for the saint's epoch, is impressive. This is often found on canvases when events of an early temporal period are transferred to the realities of the present day to the author.
But in this case it’s not about the character’s outfit, but about the special expressiveness with which he is depicted. He turned as if he were addressing someone from the audience outside the picture, which significantly expands the limited space of the canvas. Externally, the man resembles the artist himself, perhaps this is his self-portrait, included in the general outline of the story.
The saint himself stands on a high pulpit, stretching out his hand, pointing to the angel. He seemed to hover above the crowd, which should emphasize his high spirituality. The background of the image is an impenetrably dark sky and a bright stone city without the slightest hint of paint and green. If you look closely, it becomes clear that all its streets are filled with crowds of people gathered to listen to Saint Vicente.

Other paintings by Francisco Ribalta

St. Bernard
Nailing the cross
Apostles at the tomb of Christ

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