An Oriental Potentate Accompanied by His Halberd Bearer

Jusepe de Riberaabout 1625 - 1630

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

Jusepe de Ribera not only contrasted the sizes of the gigantic potentate and his dwarf halberd bearer but also juxtaposed their somewhat disheveled appearance with their grandiloquent poses. This caricature-like representation displays Ribera's usual strain of irony and frequent combination of figures of differing scale.

The striking crimson ink underscores the outlandish qualities of Ribera's subject matter. To make the ink, the artist probably used a dye made from the cochineal insect, a relative of the mealybug. He also applied his ink somewhat unconventionally, in tremulous, undulating lines made with the point of a brush.

Ribera neither inscribed nor squared the drawing himself. Sometime after his death, another craftsman probably considered transferring the design to an engraving plate.

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  • Title: An Oriental Potentate Accompanied by His Halberd Bearer
  • Creator: Jusepe de Ribera
  • Date: about 1625 - 1630
  • Location Created: Spain
  • Physical Dimensions: 23 x 13.5 cm (9 1/16 x 5 5/16 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Point of the brush with carmine red ink (from cochineal?); squared in pen and brown ink
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Drawing
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 91.GA.56
  • Markings: Markings: (Recto) at lower right edge, unidentified collector's mark; (verso) collection mark of Kurt Meissner.
  • Inscription: Secondary Inscription: (Recto) at lower edge, inscribed "Joseyana" and "Joseph de Ribera fe. 1628" in brown ink.
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: Spanish
  • Classification: Drawings