Ribera was born in the province of Valencia in Spain, but was in Rome by 1606 and spent the rest of his life in Italy, where he was known as Lo Spagnoletto. Early on Ribera developed a powerfully naturalistic style much indebted to the mature works of Caravaggio. His output during his Roman period has been the subject of much debate and controversy in recent years. Although he appears to have had some success with private patrons, and became a member of the Accademia di San Luca, he received no major public commissions. In 1616 he moved permanently to Naples and became painter to the Spanish Viceroys. Primarily a painter of altarpieces and religious subjects, Ribera also tackled mythological themes, series of ancient beggar-philosophers, and portraits. Hugely influential in both Naples and Spain, he is perhaps best known for his graphic portrayals of flayings and martyrdoms.