Jusepe de Ribera (c. 1590–1652)
Man Tied to a Tree, and a Figure Resting
Samuel Courtauld Trust: Witt Bequest, 1952
The bound male figure is a recurring theme in Ribera's art. This subtle study may represent the suffering and steadfastness of an unidentified elderly saint. Extending his disproportionately long arm, he seems to address someone beyond the scene. The relationship between the saint and the hunched man at the bottom of the tree remains ambiguous, but they seem to be conceived as contrasting figures.