04 October 2018, The Tablet

Anatomy of torture

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Anatomy of torture

Apollo and Marsyas, oil on canvas, Jusepe de Ribera, Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte            
Photo: Image: Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte            

 

On a public holiday in 1616 the Spanish Viceroy of Naples, the Duke of Osuna, heard a commotion in the street outside the Palazzo Reale and, coming out his balcony, saw a painting of the Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew drawing an excited crowd. Curious to see what the fuss was about, he had the painting and the artist brought to him. The painting was certainly a crowd-puller and the artist was himself an object of curiosity: not an Italian but a fellow Spaniard from Valencia, who would come to be known in Italy as “lo Spagnoletto”.

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