On the Painting:
It always intrigues me what colors artist choose for skin tones – in this one Mary and Jesus (and Catherine who is not shown) have basically straight-out-of-the-tube white skin because they are in a beam of light, while the two figures in the background shadows (not shown) have normal olive skin tones. This also emphasizes the purity of Mary and Jesus – obviously no one has bone white skin, so in this case it’s a symbolism rather than depicting reality. And that is so cool.
The piercing gaze of our lady leaves you with the question – will I enter this sacred conversation with the Christ-child or will I remain at a distance.
Jusepe de Ribera was a Spanish painter who lived from 1591-1652. Ribera moved to Naples to pursue his artistic career and more than likely was a follower of the great Caravaggio, and for the later part of his career was the leading painter in Naples. He painted a large breadth of works for the Church and private commissions which left a large legacy for many years, though after a period of obscurity, many of his paintings have been lost, altered, or forgotten in the modern era.
This alla prima study is part of my training arc for painting the Litany of Loretto Marian series, which I’ve begun to develop on my Patreon! You can find out more about it here.
No prints will be made of the master copy studies.
Painted on an archival panel; linen mounted on 3/8″ plywood. It cannot hang by itself, but will fit in most standard 5×7 frames.