RIBERA, Jusepe (1588-1652):

The Small Grotesque Head

Etching, 1622. Brown 16, first state of two before Van Wyngaerts’s address
Provenance: Justynian Karnicki (died before 1881, Lugt 1562)

A fine, early impression printed in dark brown, with inky plate edges and slight overall plate tone, small margins. Very pale foxing, otherwise in very good condition. 145 x 112mm.

This unusual subject was one of two that Ribera did focusing on deformities or ailments, without mocking the sitter as Leonardo’s grotesque heads do. In his studies of parts of the body, as well as his many depictions of old men, he displayed a keen interest in accurate physiognomy.