Dulwich Picture Gallery’s Ribera exhibition to feature a piece of tattooed human skin

Ailis Brennan
Photo: Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte on kind concession from the

A piece of human skin will go on show as part of an exhibition of work by Spanish painter Jusepe de Ribera.

Ribera: Art of Violence will open later this month at Dulwich Picture Gallery, offering a rare chance to see work by the enigmatic Baroque artist who is known for his visceral depictions of human suffering and torture.

The piece of tattooed skin reportedly dates back to nineteenth century France.

Dulwich Picture Gallery describes the artefact as “a crucial loan to the exhibition”, which will “highlight the distinction, or rather slippage, between literal, represented and metaphorical ‘skin’.”

The gallery will be showing the unusual item alongside impressions of and drawings for Ribera’s 1624 work Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew, in which the saint is shown being flayed alive.

The exhibition will examine the attention Ribera gave to skin in his paintings, as well as explore and potentially debunk his reputation as a sadist, and an artist preoccupied with violence in his work.

Ribera: Art of Violence runs from September 26 - January 29 2019 at Dulwich Picture Gallery. For more information, visit dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk