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Saint Joseph with the Flowering Rod

Jusepe de Ribera

European Art

Called “Lo Spagnoletto” (the little Spaniard) by his Italian clientele, the Spanish-born and trained Ribera made his career in Naples, where his major patron, the Duke of Osuna, served as viceroy to the Spanish Bourbon rulers of southern Italy. Following a Spanish tradition initiated by the famed painter El Greco (1541–1614), Ribera painted individual portraits of Christ’s intimates, including his father Saint Joseph and his disciples. According to apocryphal sources, suitors for the Virgin Mary’s hand were to present rods to the high priest of the Temple. When Joseph’s rod bloomed, he was identified as her betrothed. Ribera conveys the unexpected wonder of the moment with the lighting from above and the aged Joseph’s questioning hand gesture.
MEDIUM Oil on panel
  • Place Made: Europe
  • DATES early 1630s
    DIMENSIONS 46 x 35 3/4 in. (116.8 x 90.8 cm) frame: 57 1/8 x 47 1/8 in. (145.1 x 119.7 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Signed bottom center: "Jusepe Ribera/F"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 11.563
    CREDIT LINE Gift of George D. Pratt
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION Jusepe de Ribera (Spanish, 1591-1652). Saint Joseph with the Flowering Rod, early 1630s. Oil on panel, 46 x 35 3/4 in. (116.8 x 90.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of George D. Pratt, 11.563
    IMAGE overall, 11.563.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (92%)
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