The Sense of Touch
c. 1615-16
Jusepe de Ribera (Spanish, 1591-1652)
On View

Seated at a wooden table, a blind man uses his hands to thoughtfully perceive a carved head, while a painting rests beside him, unnoticed. By depicting the sense of touch in this way, Jusepe de Ribera engaged in a long-standing debate over the merits of sculpture versus painting. Sculpture was considered the most accessible of the arts, since it could be understood through touch and vision. In his naturalistic rendering of the sculpture, however, Ribera also made a case for the virtuosity of painting. The artist used paint to create effects of texture and weight, emphasizing the man’s wrinkled hands supporting the heavy bust. Through vision, the painting appeals to the sense of touch, inviting viewers to imagine the sculpture’s smooth contours under their own fingertips.

Details

  • Artist Name: Jusepe de Ribera (Spanish, 1591-1652)
  • Title: The Sense of Touch
  • Date: c. 1615-16
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 45-5/8 x 34-3/4 in. (115.9 x 88.3 cm)
  • Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
  • Accession Number: F.1965.1.052.P
  • Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation

Object Information

?Feliks Feliksovich Iusupov, Kniaz’ (1887-1967), Moscow and St. Petersburg (until 1919), and Paris.
(sale, New York, Parke-Bernet, 9 April 1953, lot 194, as Spanish School, XVII Century, The Sculptor–Sense of Touch, to);
[Duveen Bros., New York, stock no. 30164, as Antonio de Puga, later changed to Pietro Novelli; sold, as Pietro Novelli, 1965 to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.

[on loan]

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1969 to 1969
  • Bolland, Andrea, Art Bulletin,n. 104, fig. 12 pp. 309, 321, 330
  • Pepper, D. Stephen, Arte Illustrata,n. 9 p. 178
  • Felton, Craig, Apollo,fig. 8 p. 8
  • Hilaire, Michel et al., Corps et ombres: Caravage et le caravagine european,2012, Fig. 2 p. 350
  • Mancini, Giulio, Considerazione sulla pittura, pp. 149-150
  • Haraszti-Takács, Marianna, Spanish Genre Painting in the Seventeenth Century,no. 170, pl. 65
  • Wadsworth Atheneum Paintings II: Italy and Spain, Fourteenth through Nineteenth Centuries, pp. 32-322 (fig. 82)
  • Spear, Richard E., Storia dell' arte, pp. 149-150
  • Spinosa, Nicola, Art e Dossier, p. 11
  • Rossela Vodret and Yusuke Kawase, 150th Anniverary of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and Italy "Caravaggio",2016, Fig. 8 p. #71
  • Longhi, Roberto, Paragone, pp. 74-78
  • Hecht, Peter, Simiolus,fig. 2 pp. 125-136
  • Scholz-Hänsel, Michael, Jusepe de Ribera 1591-1652,fig. 2 pp. 24-31
  • Konecný, Lubomír, Paragone, pp. 85-92
  • Hughes, Robert, Time, p. 83
  • Schleier, Erich, Paragone, pp. 79-80
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. D44 p. 444
  • Piero Corsino, Inc., Important Old Master Paintings and Discoveries of the Past Year,fig. 2 pp. 64, 66
  • Piero Corsino, Inc., Ribera inedito tra Roma e Napoli, pp. 5-6
  • Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E.; and Nicola Spinosa, L'opera completa del Ribera,no. 3, color pl. II p. 92
  • Saunders Candlin, Enid, Christian Science Monitor, p. 16
  • Paoletti, John, Apollo, pp. 425-426
  • Knox, Giles, Sense Knowledge and the Challenge of Italian Renaissance Art: El Greco, Velázquez, Rembrandt,2019, Fig. 86 p. 208; p. 209 (ill.)
  • Morrison, Karl F., "I Am You": The Hermeneutics of Empathy in Western Literature, Theology, and Art,pl. 1 pp. 301-302
  • Johnson, Geraldine A., A Companion to Art Theory,plate 5.1 pp. 63-65
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum,1989, p. 38
  • Painting in Naples, 1606-1705: From Caravaggio to Giordano,no. 119
  • Velàzquez in Seville,under no. 11
  • Felton, Craig, Wadsworth Atheneum Bulletin,figs. 7, 10 pp. 2-7
  • Satrústegui, Miguel (ed.) - various authors, Fundación Politeia: 50 años de cultura - II. de la Época del Barroco al Mundo Contemporáneo,2020, Ribera - Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez pp. 149-185, p. 158 (ill.)
  • Felton, Craig, The Burlington Magazine,fig. 15 pp. 71-81
  • Michaud, Cécile, Revue de'l art,fig. 11 p. 69
  • Mayer, August L., Belvedere, pp. 261-262
  • Kowal, David M., Apollo, p. 326
  • El Bodegóon Español [De Zubarán a Picasso],under no. 9
  • Volpe, Carlo, Paragone, pp. 72-73
  • Felton, Craig, Apollo, p. 143
  • Wadsworth Atheneum, Renaissance to Rococo: Masterpieces from the Collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art,fig. 29a p. 96-97
  • Milicua, José, Archivo Espagñol de Arte, pp. 309-322
  • Waterhouse, Ellis, The Burlington Magazine, p. 248
Listen
Audio Tour
English | Español
Read
Audio Tour Transcript
English | Español
Escuchar
Audioguía
English | Español
Leer
Transcripción de Audioguía
English | Español

Image reproduction permission may be granted for scholarly or arts related commercial use. All image requests, regardless of their intended purpose, should be submitted via the reproduction request form.

Images may be protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. Additional permission may be required.

Approved requests for the reproduction of an image will receive a contract detailing all fees and conditions of use of the image. Upon receipt of both the signed contract and full payment, the Office of Rights and Reproductions will provide the image. A complimentary copy of the published material must be provided to the Norton Simon Museum.

Reproduction Request Form