Art: Baroque Futurist

To Jusepe de Ribera, the Little Spaniard, realism was the violence of cruel images

The work of Jusepe de Ribera, whose masterpieces are displayed in a new exhibition at New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, is the very antitype of the great Matisse show 30 blocks downtown at the Museum of Modern Art: darkness, Baroque realism and a relentless admixture of piety with sadistic guignol, all done at the highest level of skill and conviction. Surprisingly, given the enormous reputation Ribera had in his day, this is the first comprehensive exhibition of his work ever held in America, or for that matter in Europe (it was previously shown in Naples and Madrid). It rounds...

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