The Holy Family with Saints Anne and Catherine of Alexandria

Artist: Jusepe de Ribera (called Lo Spagnoletto) (Spanish, Játiva 1591–1652 Naples)

Date: 1648

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 82 1/2 x 60 3/4 in. (209.6 x 154.3 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Samuel D. Lee Fund, 1934

Accession Number: 34.73


Spanish by birth, Ribera lived all of his adult life in Naples, which was ruled at the time by a Spanish viceroy. During his early years in Rome, he adopted Caravaggio’s practice of working directly from posed models. In this work, figures drawn from everyday life are translated into compelling images of saints. Key to the impact of his paintings was his use of formal compositions derived from his study of Raphael. Ribera’s art brings together in a unique fashion the two strands of seventeenth-century Italian painting: Caravaggesque naturalism and classical idealism.