Artist: Jusepe de Ribera
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size:123 x 95 cm
Date: c. 1630-32
Location: Museo del Prado, Madrid.
St. Andrew, the Apostle, son of Jonah, was born in Bethsaida of Galilee. He was brother of Simon Peter, and both were fishermen who, at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, occupied the same house at Capernaum. As one of the Twelve, Andrew was admitted to the closest familiarity with Jesus during his public life. He was present at the Last Supper, beheld the risen Lord, witnessed the Ascension, shared in the first Pentecost, and helped, amid threats and persecution, to establish the Faith in Palestine. He was crucified by order of the Roman Governor Aegeas, at Patrae in Achaia, on November 30, A.D. 60. He was bound, not nailed, to the cross, in order to prolong his sufferings. The cross on which he suffered is commonly held to have been the decussate cross, now known as St. Andrew's, though the evidence for this view seems to be no older than the fourteenth century.
The feast of St. Andrew the Apostle (30 November) is used as a marking point for the beginning of Advent, the period of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus, which begins with the Sunday nearest to the feast day and embracing four Sundays. The first Sunday may be as early as 27 November, and then Advent has twenty-eight days, or as late as 3 December, giving the season only twenty-one days. With Advent the ecclesiastical year begins in the Western churches. Beginning today the Christmas Anticipatory Prayer, also known as the "Novena to St. Andrew" is prayed every day until Christmas.
Jusepe (or José) de Ribera, (January, 1591 – September, 1652) was a Spanish painter, etcher, and draughtsman, active for all his known career in Italy. Little is known of his life before he settled in Naples (at the time a Spanish possession) in 1616. In his earlier style, founded sometimes on Caravaggio and sometimes on the wholly diverse method of Correggio, the study of Spanish and Venetian masters can be traced. Along with his massive and predominating shadows, he retained from first to last a great strength in local coloring. His forms, though ordinary and sometimes coarse, are correct; the impression of his works gloomy and startling. He delighted in subjects of horror. In the early 1630s his style changed away from strong contrasts of dark and light to a more diffused and golden lighting.