“The Sermon of San Vicente Ferrera”, Francisco Ribalt – overview of the painting

“The Sermon of San Vicente Ferrera”, Francisco Ribalt – overview of the painting
"The Sermon of San Vicente Ferrera", Francisco Ribalt - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by Francisco Ribalta
  • Museum: Hermitage
  • Year: Not dated

Overview of the painting :

Sermon San Vicente Ferrer – Francisco Ribalt. Oil on canvas. 178 x 111 cm.

   Vicente Ferrer, in the Slavic tradition – Vicenty Ferrer – Catholic saint of the XIV century, preacher, philosopher and theologians, patroness of Valencia. This Dominican monk is still revered in Hispanic countries, including Latin America.

   In the picture of the saint is depicted by the preacher of the word of God in the city square. Vicente Ferrer became famous for conducting active missionary activities among the ardent heretics – catars and valdens. He was so eloquent and convincing that he was able to return a large number of dissidents to Catholicism.

   On the canvas, the viewer sees the moment of the saint’s sermon, where the crowd is an angel, and Ferrer himself points to him as a confirmation of the truth of his words. According to the expression and style of painting, this picture is closer to the canvases of the Dutch masters, especially if you pay attention to its lower part, with the image of a wounded and excited crowd. Impressive is a man in a hat and with a flat collar on clothes, which was clearly an anachronism for the era of the most holy. This is often found on canvases when the events of the early time period are transferred to the real author of modern reality.

   But in this case, we are not talking about the character’s outfit, but about the special expressiveness with which he is depicted. He turned as if he was turning to one of the spectators outside the picture, which significantly expands the limited space of the canvas. Outwardly, a man resembles the artist himself, perhaps this is his self-portrait, included in the general outline of the story.

   The saint himself stands in a high pulpit, pulling out his hand pointing to the angel. He seems to be hovering over the crowd, which should emphasize his high spirituality. The background of the image is the impermeable dark sky and a bright stone city without the slightest hint of paint and greens. If you look closely, it becomes clear that all his streets are filled with crowds of people who are going to listen to St. Vicente.