Sermon of San Vicente Ferrera - Francisco Ribalta. 178 x 111 cm.
Vicente Ferrer, in the Slavic tradition - Vincent Ferrer - a Catholic saint of the XIV century, a preacher, philosopher and theologian, patron saint of Valencia. This Dominican monk is still revered in Hispanic countries, including Latin America.
In the painting, the saint is depicted preaching the word of God in the town square. Vicente Ferrer became famous for carrying out active missionary activity among ardent heretics - Cathars and Waldensians. He was so eloquent and convincing that he was able to return to Catholicism a large number of dissenters.
On the canvas, the viewer sees the moment of the saint’s sermon, where the angel is the crowd, and Ferrer himself points to it with his finger as confirmation of the truth of his words. In terms of expression and style of painting, this painting is closer to the canvases of Dutch masters, especially if you pay attention to its lower part, with the image of a startled and excited crowd. The man in the hat and the collar on his clothes is impressive, which was clearly an anachronism for the era of the saint. This is often found on canvases when events of an early time period are transferred to the realities contemporary to the author.
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 speaking to someone from the audience outside the picture, which significantly expands the limited space of the canvas. Outwardly, the 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, holding out his hand, pointing to an angel. He seemed to soar above the crowd, which should emphasize his high spirituality. The background of the image is an impenetrably dark sky and a bright stone city without the slightest hint of paint and greenery. If you look closely, it becomes clear that all its streets are filled with crowds of people gathered to listen to St. Vicente.