Arquimedes by José Ribera

Arquimedes by José Ribera
Arquimedes by José Ribera

This oil painting on canvas was painted by the Spanish artist José de Ribera around 1630, and is currently part of the painting collection baroque of the Museo del Prado in Madrid.

In the case of this effigy of the famous ancient Greek scientific mathematician, Archimedes, he used models that were actually popular types. Something that he also did in some of his portraits of saints, as is the case with his painting of Saint Andrew.

Archimedes by José Ribera

Arquímedes de José Ribera

These humble characters served him to create “character” figures. People who, in his anonymity, were capable of being vigorous in an isolated way. To do this, he does not hesitate to introduce us to a character who is studying the books, and with a compass in hand, but instead dresses him in rather poor clothes. In fact, José de Ribera, nicknamed ll Spagnoletto, specialized in this type of work, and even created a kind of subgenre with many imitators, which is why many works representing philosophers and also rogues have been attributed to his brushes.

The truth is that during the Baroque art works starring sages and philosophers of Antiquity were very common, for which models taken from the lower strata were used of society, as did Velázquez himself during those years. In all these cases theThe model is treated with great naturalistic force and a very powerful brushstroke, features that would captivate painters of later centuries such as Ignacio de Zuloaga or José Gutiérrez Solana.

In the case of this Archimedes, researchers have sometimes thought that perhaps it could be identified with other relevant characters of Antiquity, such as the writing Aesop or the philosopher Aristotle. However, there are two key details so that in recent times he has also been identified with Democritus. Firstly because of the beat he keeps, and secondly because he smiles, and Democritus is known as the laughing philosopher

Regardless of who you identify with among these geniuses of ancient civilization, the great achievement of Ribera is that it presents these characters with the most common appearance possible, capturing with this is that their genius is basically human, and that despite their great achievements and theories, they were people who achieved all that based on a lot of effort.

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