Jusepe de Ribera (1591-1652) was a Spanish-Italian Tenebrist painter and printmaker. His early biographers generally rank him among the followers of Caravaggio. Ribera’s series of Apostles portraits became very popular during the Counter-reformation. They were usually half-length figures against a neutral background, holding their iconographical attributes.
In his depiction of the doubting apostle Saint Thomas, he holds the spear that he was martyred with near Madras. The portrait inspired a recent sitting for my Selah project, with Actor Tony Amendola. Tony boasts a noble profile, sitting for me several times over the past few years, he is one of my favourite subjects.
Tony Amendola (St. Thomas) Rory Lewis Photographer 2019
In search of a spear I simply visited Home Depot, purchasing a broom stick, the robe, a blanket from TJ Max. To me it’s all about keeping things simple. Describing the character of St Thomas, I wanted Tony to believe he was at the end of a long journey. Working for a short time, we managed to capture a series of very powerful portraits, directing Tony to hold a plain yet purposeful expression. I really enjoyed the sitting. My Selah project is really coming along.