Jusepe de Ribera (Spanish, 1591–1652)
Etching with drypoint and engraving, only state
12 7/8 x 9 1/2 in. (328 x 243 mm)
Signed (with a monogram) and dated 1621
The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1953 (53.512.5)
This is almost certainly the first of Ribera's two etchings depicting Saint Jerome in the wilderness, interrupted by the sound of a trumpet. Its date1621indicates that it postdates the painting of the same subject sent to the Colegiata in Osuna. The five paintings by Ribera in Osuna were critically early commissions received soon after the artist settled in Naples.
Although the etching relates to the painting, the disparities are numerous. In the print the saint is shown seated and sharpening his pen rather than reclining and contemplating a skull, and the angel is suggested only by hands that emerge from clouds, clasping the trumpet. Such variations are typical of Ribera, who characteristically used printmaking to experiment with compositions that had already appeared in paint as well as to disseminate his images to a wider public.