An Oriental Potentate Accompanied by His Halberd Bearer

Object Details

Title:

An Oriental Potentate Accompanied by His Halberd Bearer

Artist/Maker(s):

Jusepe de Ribera (Spanish / Italian, 1591 - 1652)

Culture:

Spanish

Place(s):

Spain (Place created)

Date:

about 1625 - 1630

Medium:

Point of the brush with carmine red ink (from cochineal?); squared in pen and brown ink

Dimensions:

23 x 13.5 cm (9 1/16 x 5 5/16 in.)

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Jusepe de Ribera not only contrasted the sizes of the gigantic potentate and his dwarf halberd bearer but also juxtaposed their somewhat disheveled appearance with their grandiloquent poses. This caricature-like representation displays Ribera's usual strain of irony and frequent combination of figures of differing scale.

The striking crimson ink underscores the outlandish qualities of Ribera's subject matter. To make the ink, the artist probably used a dye made from the cochineal insect, a relative of the mealybug. He also applied his ink somewhat unconventionally, in tremulous, undulating lines made with the point of a brush.

Ribera neither inscribed nor squared the drawing himself. Sometime after his death, another craftsman probably considered transferring the design to an engraving plate.

Exhibitions
Jusepe de Ribera: 1591 - 1652 (May 25 to November 29, 1992)
  • Museo del Prado, (Madrid), May 25 to August 15, 1992
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), September 15 to November 29, 1992
16-17th Century European Drawings (December 28, 1993 to March 13, 1994)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), December 28, 1993 to March 13, 1994
Color in Drawing (March 10 to May 24, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 10 to May 24, 1998
Juanes to Goya: Spanish Drawings 1560 -1825 (September 14 to November 28, 1999)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), September 14 to November 28, 1999
Mise-en-Page: The Art of Composing on Paper (December 17, 2002 to March 9, 2003)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 17, 2002 to March 9, 2003
Window onto Spain: Drawings and Prints from Ribera to Goya (February 17 to May 16, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 17 to May 16, 2004
A Light Touch: Exploring Humor in Drawing (September 23 to December 7, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), September 23 to December 7, 2008
The Red that Colored the World (May 17, 2015 to March 21, 2016)
  • Museum of International Folk Art, (Santa Fe), May 17 to September 6, 2015