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Ribera, Violence and the Construction of a ‘Spanish Artist’

  • Dulwich Picure Gallery (map)



The Maius Workshop (see below for information) has organised a special, curator-led visit to the exhibition Ribera: Art of Violence at Dulwich Picture Gallery, followed by an informal reading group at a nearby pub. Dedicated to Jusepe de Ribera (1591–1652), a Spanish Golden Age artist who lived in Naples for most of his life, the exhibition touches on such themes as extreme imagery, identity, hybridity, historiographical and biographical myths, and national stereotypes. In the tour and reading group, we will address some of the following questions: Why is this the first exhibition on Ribera in the UK? How have international audiences responded to his works, and in particular to his images of violence? How has Ribera’s identity been informed by his early modern biographers? How did Spanish Naples shape Ribera’s career as an artist?

15:30 Meet inside the main entrance to the gallery, by the ticket desk

15:30–15:45 Welcome
Introduction to the exhibition from curator Dr Edward Payne

15:45–16:45 Curator-led tour of the exhibition

16:45­–17:00 Independent viewing of the exhibition and Q&A

17:15 Reading Group at The Crown and Greyhound

18:15 Close and drinks

This event is free but limited to 15 attendees. Please book a ticket on Eventbrite.

A selection of excerpts of biographies, poems and scholarly texts on Ribera (to be emailed to attendees who book a place for this event).

Helen Hills, ‘Introduction: Directions to Baroque Naples’, Open Arts Journal, 6 (Winter 2017-8): pp. 1–20.

Ernst Kris and Otto Kurz, ‘The Special Position of the Artist in Biography’, in Legend, Myth and Magic in the Image of the Artist: A Historical Experiment (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1979 [1934]), pp. 91–132.

Henry Kamen, ‘The Myth of the Historic Nation’, in Imagining Spain: Historical Myth and National Identity, pp. 1­–37.

For a short introduction to the life and works of Jusepe de Ribera, you may also wish to read:
Edward Payne, ‘Jusepe de Ribera (1591–1652): A Biographical Sketch’ in Edward Payne ed., Ribera: Art of Violence, exhibition catalogue (London: Dulwich Picture Gallery in association with D Giles Ltd, 2018), pp. 10–5.

Pdfs of the readings will be made available to people who sign up to this event.

The organisers welcome any suggestions for additional readings. Please email a pdf of your suggestion to by 19 October.


Named after the tenth-century painter and scribe of the Morgan Beatus manuscript, the Maius Workshop is an interdisciplinary group that brings together graduate students and early career scholars who share interests in the Hispanic world, encompassing history, art, literature, theatre, music, and more. The group’s primary focus spans the middle ages to early modernity, but scholars outside these chronological limits are also welcome.

We aim to encourage dialogue among specialists working in different institutions and disciplines, and at various stages of their academic life, creating an inclusive and collaborative network of Hispanists. Our meetings are informal and supportive, enabling participants to discuss their research projects and methodological problems, and also to share practical advice. Not a platform for polished work, we are a studio, a laboratory, a workbench—a friendly environment to try and test new ideas, and an exciting venue for unexpected discoveries and connections.


The group was established in 2017 by Costanza Beltrami (CHASE–funded PhD Candidate, The Courtauld Institute of Art), María Teresa Chicote Pompanin (PhD Candidate, The Warburg Institute) and Maeve O’Donnell (PhD, The Courtauld Institute of Art, 2018). The group is currently convened by Costanza Beltrami and Bert Carlstrom (PhD Candidate, Queen Mary University of London). The group is kindly supported by ARTES, the Iberian and Latin American Visual Culture Group.

During the 2017–18 academic year, the group convened four research workshops with presentations from PhD candidates and early career scholars from London universities (King’s College London, The Warburg Institute, The Courtauld Institute, UCL), and from institutions further afield (Cambridge, Exeter, and Glasgow). Exciting events—including exhibition tours and masterclasses in London and Durham—are planned for 2018–19. Further information on our past and future projects can be found on our website: