RIBALTA, Francisco
(b. 1565, Solsona, d. 1628, Valencia)


Spanish painter. He was probably trained at the Escorial and during most of the 1580s and 1590s he worked in Madrid. His earlier paintings are Mannerist in character, notably his first known work, The Nailing to the Cross (Hermitage, St Petersburg, 1582). By 1599 he was settled in Valencia and there his style became much more sombre and naturalistic.

According to Palomino, Ribalta had studied in Italy and he is known to have made a copy of Caravaggio's Martyrdom of St Peter, but his late tenebrist style may have been influenced more by Ribera than by direct knowledge of painting in Rome. In their turn, Ribalta's dramatically lit and powerfully austere mature works (Christ Embracing St Bernard, Prado, Madrid) had considerable influence on Spanish painting, notably on Zurbarán. His son Juan (1596/7-1628) was also an able painter in the Caravaggesque manner, but died young.