Hecate: Procession to a Witches Sabbath

Jusepe de Ribera (1591-1652)

This is not typical of Ribera’s style and is thought to be from his early period before 1620. Although born in Spain he moved ot Italy and lived in both in Rome and Naples.

It is an exact copy of an engraving by Agostino Veneziano. The flesh tones and the fact that it is painted on copper could reflect the influence of the Dutch and Flemish schools.

The subject matter has been interpreted as a witch in the guise of Hecate, the goddess of magic, riding the skeleton of a monstrous figure, with her retinue.

There is an inscription which reads Raphael Urbinas inventor which implies that this was originally Raphael’s design.