The Art World’s Historic Commemoration of Peter

Thumbnail image of Saint Peter

Warren Camp’s presentation of 500 famous “Peter” works of art includes examples of historic paintings, frescoes, stained glass, etchings, sculptures, engravings, and other artwork monuments. They come from the Gothic (1100–1400), High Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassicism, and Romanticism (1800s) eras.

All are popular works, designed and created by famous, notable artists, many of whom you’ll likely recognize, including Rembrandt, Raphael, Michelangelo, El Greco, da Vinci, Tissot, Botticelli, Dürer, Rubens, and many more. They’ll bring back recollections of your college “Art History 101” classes, using the H W Janson History of Art textbook.

Whether named “Cephas,” “Simon,” “Simeon,” “Simon Bar-Jonah,” “Simon Peter,” “The Rock,” “Peter,” “Apostle Peter,” or “Saint Peter,” the enlarged images of this acclaimed Bible figure come with factual and enlightening details: about the artist; when each work was created and where it can be seen; Bible-passage references applicable to depicted scenes; the background and unique highlights of each work; and photo sources with copyright notices.

To realize and appreciate the impact that Peter had on numerous art-world masters, be sure to enlarge each thumbnail image!

Album 1 (Peter, alone)  |  Album 2  |  Album 3  |  Album 4  |  Album 5
Album 6  |  Album 7  |  Album 8  |  Album 9  |  Album 10  |  Album 11
Album 12  |  Album 13  |  Album 14  |  Album 15  |  Album 16

Album topics are shown at the [ ⇓ bottom ⇓ ] of each page.

Peter’s Presence with Other Apostles

“The Four Apostles”
John, Peter, Mark, Paul

'The Four Apostles' painting by Albrecht Dürer

Click to enlarge.


Dürer — 1526
oil on linden wood

“Saint Peter
and Saint Paul”

'Saint Peter and Saint Paul' painting by El Greco

Click to enlarge.


El Greco — 1590–1600
oil on canvas

“Saint Peter
and Saint Paul”

'Saint Peter and Saint Paul' painting by El Greco

Click to enlarge.


El Greco — 1605–1608
oil on canvas

“The Apostles
Peter and Paul” (detail)

'The Apostles Peter and Paul (detail)' painting by Antonio da Correggio

Click to enlarge.


Correggio — c. 1522
cupola fresco

“Saints Prosdocimus
and Peter”

'Saints Prosdocimus and Peter' painting by Il Pordenone

Click to enlarge.


Il Pordenone — c. 1515
oil on poplar panel

“The Appearance of
Christ at the Cenacle
(Upper Room)”

'Christ Appears in the Upper Room' painting by James Tissot

Click to enlarge.


James Tissot
1886–1894
opaque watercolor
on gray wove paper

“The Incarnation
of Christ”

'The Incarnation of Christ' painting by Piero di Cosimo

Click to enlarge.


di Cosimo — 1498
oil on panel

“Lamentation over
the Dead Christ”

'Lamentation over the Dead Christ' painting by Sandro Botticelli

Click to enlarge.


Botticelli — 1490–1492
tempera on panel

“Saints Peter, Paul,
and John the Baptist”
'Saints Peter, Paul, and John the Baptist' engraving by Bartholomeus Spranger

Click to enlarge.


Spranger — before 1604
engraved print

“Peter and John
Running to the Tomb”

'Peter and John Running to the Tomb' painting by Eugène Burnand

Click to enlarge.


Burnand — 1898
oil on canvas

“Saints Peter
and Paul”

'Saints Peter and Paul' painting by Carlo Crivelli

Click to enlarge.


Crivelli — 1470
tempera on poplar

“Paul Visits
Peter in Prison”

'Saint Paul Visits Saint Peter in Prison' painting by Filippino Lippi

Click to enlarge.


Lippi — 1481
painted fresco

“The Betrayal
of Christ”

'Betrayal of Christ, from The Passion' engraving by Albrecht Dürer

Click to enlarge.


Dürer — 1508
engraved print

“Madonna, Child,
with Five Saints”

'Madonna and Child with Five Saints' painting by Jacopo da Pontormo

Click to enlarge.


Pontormo — 1529
oil on panel

“Saint Peter and
Saint Andrew”

'Saint Peter and Saint Andrew' engraving by Israhel van Meckenem

Click to enlarge.


Meckenem, 1485
engraved print

“Mary with the Apostles”
'Mary with the Apostles' painting by Fra Angelico

Click to enlarge.


Fra Angelico — c. 1424
egg tempera on wood

“Saints Peter and Paul
Seated in a Landscape”

'Saints Peter and Paul Seated in a Landscape' engraving by Lucas van Leyden

Click to enlarge.


van Leyden — 1527
engraved print

“Apostles Meet in the Upper Room”
'Apostles Meet in the Upper Room' engraving by Philip Galle

Click to enlarge.


Galle — 1550–1570
engraved print

“The Betrayal of Christ”
'The Betrayal of Christ' painting by Ugolino di Nerio

Click to enlarge.


Ugolino — 1325–1328
egg tempera on poplar

“Saint Peter and
Simon Magus”
'Saint Peter and Simon Magus' painting by Benozzo Gozzoli

Click to enlarge.


Gozzoli — n. d.
tempera on wood

“The Apostles
Baptizing in Jerusalem”
'The Apostles Baptising in Jerusalem' engraving by Philip Galle, after Maarten van Heemskerck

Click to enlarge.


Galle — 1575
engraved print

“St Peter Laying His
Hands on Samaritans”
'The Apostles Baptising in Jerusalem' engraving by Philip Galle, after Maarten van Heemskerck

Click to enlarge.


Galle — 1575
engraved print

“Madonna and Child
with Saints”
'Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints' painting by Piero di Cosimo

Click to enlarge.


Piero — c. 1493
oil/tempera on panel

“John and Peter
at Christ’s
Empty Tomb”
'John and Peter at Christ’s Empty Tomb' painting by Giovanni Francesco Romanelli

Click to enlarge.


Romanelli
c. 1641
oil on canvas

“Saints Peter and Paul
in a Vestibule”

'Saints Peter and Paul in a Vestibule' etching by Rombout Eynhoudts

Click to enlarge.


Eynhoudts
c. 1650
etching print

“Saint Peter
and
Saint Paul”
'Saint Peter and Saint Paul' painting by Jusepe de Ribera

Click to enlarge.


Ribera
c. 1616
oil on canvas

“St. Peter and St. John
the Baptist”

St. Peter and St. John the Baptist' painting by Francesco del Cossa

Click to enlarge.


del Cossa
c. 1473
tempera / panel

“John and Peter
at Christ’s
Tomb”
'St. John and St. Peter at Christ's Tomb' painting by Giovanni Francesco Romanelli

Click to enlarge.


Romanelli
c. 1640
oil on copper

Peter, Walking on Water

“Christ Walking
on the Sea”
Undated lithograph — 'Christ Walking on the Sea' — by Nathaniel Currier

Click to enlarge.


Currier — undated
lithograph

“Walking on Water”
'Walking on Water' painting by Ivan Aivazovsky

Click to enlarge.


Aivazovsky — 1888
oil on canvas

“Saint Peter Walks
on the Sea”
'Saint Peter Walks on the Sea' painting by James Tissot

Click to enlarge.


Tissot — 1886–1894
watercolor

“Holding the Hand
of Saint Peter”
'Holding the Hand of Saint Peter' engraving by Jacques Callot

Click to enlarge.


Callot — 1607–1611
engraved print

“Christ and Peter
at the Sea of Galilee”
'Christ and Peter at the Sea of Galilee' painting by Ippolito Scarsella

Click to enlarge.


Scarsella
c. 1585
oil on canvas

“Peter on the Water”
altarpiece
'Peter on the Water' painting by Eero Järnefelt

Click to enlarge.


Järnefelt — 1892
painting



  • “The Four Apostles” (John, Peter, Mark, Paul), oil and tempera on linden wood, painted by Albrecht Dürer, 1526

    The Four Apostles is a panel painting by German Renaissance master Albrecht Dürer. Finished in 1526, it’s the last of his large works. It depicts the four apostles larger-than-life-size. Bavarian Elector Maximilian I obtained “The Four Apostles” in the year 1627, due to pressure on the Nuremberg city fathers. Since then, the painting has been in Munich, in the Alte Pinakothek, and, despite all the efforts of Nuremberg since 1806, it hasn’t been returned. Saints John and Peter appear in the left panel; the figures in the right panel are Saints Mark and Paul. John and Peter are shown reading from the opening page of John’s own Gospel while Mark and Paul both hold Bibles. At the bottom of each panel, quotations from the Bible are inscribed.”[1]

    “Dürer did not paint these four paintings on commission; he wanted to donate them to Nuremberg, his native city. . . ‘The Four Holy Men’ a more accurate title, shows Apostle John, on the far left, holding an open New Testament from which he is reading the first verses of his Gospel; behind him is the figure of Apostle Peter, holding the golden key to the gate of heaven; on the other panel, standing at the back, is Mark the Evangelist, not an apostle himself, with a scroll; on the far right is Apostle Paul, holding a closed Bible and leaning on the sword — a reference to his subsequent execution.

    The Four Apostles undoubtedly represents Dürer’s personal religious credo, as shown by the biblical inscriptions. His position is to “Be on guard against false prophets.” These are Dürer’s last-known oil paintings. They represent his spiritual testimony and are his most powerful works.”[2]

    … Height: 84 2/3 in. (215 cm), width: 30 in. (76 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: Albrecht Dürer, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

    Return to the “Peter Masterpieces” album’s opening page  or  to the top of this page.

  • “Saint Peter and Saint Paul,” oil on canvas, painted by El Greco, 1590–1600

    “El Greco completed ‘Saint Peter and Saint Paul’ between 1590 and 1600, while living in Toledo, Spain. Returning to a theme he had previously painted in a work now in the Hermitage, the painting depicts Saints Peter and Paul, two of Jesus’s apostles. According to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, the painting is ‘enriched by modern use of colour, the fruit of the lessons the artist had learned in Venice.’ El Greco created a sense of a halo around the heads of the saints by providing an intense blue opening in the background clouds. The placement of the hands of the saints, crossed without actually touching, symbolizes a possible disagreement between the two. The older Peter, on left, is gesturing towards Paul, suggesting a sign of surrender in the disagreement.

    “The figure on the left can be identified as Saint Peter. In the Bible, Peter is one of the first disciples that Jesus calls upon. El Greco included the keys of heaven in this painting, as seen in the left hand of Peter.”[1] The keys of heaven are described in Matthew 16:19: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”[2]

    The artist’s Italian nickname — El Greco — means “The Greek,” reflecting his citizenship, as well as the time he spent in Italy. In the 1560s, he relocated to Venice, where he studied painting under Titian and learned the techniques of Renaissance painting. He moved to Toledo, Spain, in 1577, where he completed many of the masterpieces attributed to him.

    … Height: 45 2/3 in. (116 cm), width: 35 3/4 in. (91 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: El Greco, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “Saints Peter and Paul,” oil on canvas, painted by El Greco, 1605–1608

    “These two saints were strongly associated with each other as the most influential leaders of the early Church. In this portrayal, they are shown engaged in an animated discussion. The older, white-haired Peter [left], wrapped in a golden-coloured cloak, inclines his head thoughtfully to one side as he looks towards the text being expounded. In his left hand he holds his attribute, the key to the kingdom of heaven. His right hand is cupped as if weighing up an idea. Paul [right] presses his left hand down firmly on the open volume on the table; his right hand is raised in a gesture of explanation as he looks directly at the viewer.

    “Saints Peter and Paul appear separately a great number of times in El Greco’s oeuvre and they are depicted with remarkable consistency. Peter is always shown with white hair and beard, and he often wears his yellow cloak over a blue tunic. Paul is always shown slightly balding, with dark hair and beard, wearing a red mantle thrown over a blue or green tunic, which is here just visible at the neck. There is an earlier 1592 El Greco version of this composition in the Hermitage, St Petersburg.”[1]

    The artist’s Italian nickname — El Greco — means “The Greek,” reflecting his citizenship, as well as the time he spent in Italy. In the 1560s, he relocated to Venice, where he studied painting under Titian and learned the techniques of Renaissance painting. He moved to Toledo, Spain, in 1577, where he completed many of the masterpieces attributed to him.

    … Height: 41.8 in. (124 cm), width: 36.8 in. (93.5 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: public domain, via Web Gallery of Art; Nationalmuseum, Stockholm
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “The Apostles Peter and Paul” (detail), cupola fresco, painted by Antonio da Correggio, 1520–1524
    Ceiling photo of the dome of San Giovanni in Parma

    Click to enlarge.

    “Antonio da Correggio (1489–1534) painted frescoes in the church of San Giovanni Evangelista’s cupola, in Parma, between 1520 and 1524. The fresco in the cathedral’s dome marks the culmination of Correggio’s career as a mural painter. This fresco (a painting in plaster with water-soluble pigments) anticipates the Baroque style of dramatically illusionistic ceiling painting. The entire architectural surface is treated as a single pictorial unit of vast proportions, equating the dome of the church with the vault of heaven.”[1] [Click the right-hand thumbnail to enlarge it fully.]

    “Antonio Allegri was presumably born in Correggio, the Italian town from which he later took his nickname: Correggio. He was a forerunner of illusionistic painting by introducing light and color to counterbalance the forms, as highlighted in this detail of Saints Peter and Paul. In the extraordinary dome of San Giovanni in Parma, he used the sfondato to simulate an open sky with the monumental figures of the apostles to act as a crown, following the perimeter of the dome, to the Christ suspended in mid-air.”[2]

    Peter and Paul had a sharp encounter. Paul rebuked his fellow apostle for caving in to legalistic Jews who’d arrived in Antioch, saying that people from all ethnic backgrounds had to satisfy the Jewish ritual law before they could become proper Christians: Men had to be circumcised; no one could eat pork. To appease them, Peter withdrew from the Gentile Christians. Apostle Paul saw this as hypocrisy and called it out to Peter’s face (Galatians 2:11–21).

    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: Antonio da Correggio, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “Saints Prosdocimus and Peter,” oil on poplar panel, painted by Il Pordenone, 1515–1517

    Saints Prosdocimus and Peter, makes up the left wing of an altarpiece for the Church of San Salvatore, Collalto, Northern Italy. It’s an oil painting on poplar panel, mounted on plywood panel. Painted by Giovanni Antonio de’ Sacchis, called Il Pordenone, this is a gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.”[1]

    “Saint Prosdocimus (Prosdocimus) of Padua (Italian: Prosdocimo, German: Prosdozimus) is venerated as the first bishop of Padua, Italy. Tradition holds that, being of Greek origin, he was sent from Antioch by Saint Peter the apostle. [Note: While the Roman Catholic Church deems Prosdocimus a saint, there’s no mention of him in the Bible.] He is thus often depicted in art with Apostle Peter. The Cathedral at Feltre is dedicated to him and Saint Peter the apostle; artist Il Pordenone (c. 1483–1539) created this work depicting Saint Prosdocimus with Peter. Saint Prosdocimus evangelized the Feltre region and is said to have founded the parish church at Isola Vicentina. He survived the persecutions of Emperor Nero.”[2]

    … Height: 34 1/2 in. (87.6 cm), width: 24 1/8 in. (61.3 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: Il Pordenone, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons; photo by YukioSanjo
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “The Appearance of Christ at the Cenacle (Upper Room),” opaque watercolor on paper, painted by James Tissot, 1886–1894

    [ James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). The Appearance of Christ at the Cenacle (Apparition du Christ au cénacle), 1886–1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper; image: 5 1/2 x 10 1/4 in. (14 x 26 cm.). Brooklyn Museum, purchased by public subscription, 00.159.340 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 00.159.340_PS2.jpg); see Tissot’s “Life of Christ” collection of 124 watercolors selected from a set of 350 that depict detailed scenes from the New Testament.]


    —   Biblical Backup   —

    Jesus Appears to His Disciples

    †  19On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. — John 20:19–20 NIV

    †  14Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. — Mark 16:14 NIV

    †  33They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together…36While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37They were startled and frightened,…Luke 24:33, 36–49 NIV


    … Height: 5 1/2 in. (14 cm), width: 10 1/4 in. (26 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: Brooklyn Museum of Art
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “The Incarnation of Christ,” tempera grassa on wood, painted by Piero di Cosimo — 1485–1505

    “This work shows the Virgin in a central and illuminated position, with a dove hovering above her head. She is flanked by Saints John the Evangelist, Philip Benizi, Catherine (kneeling on the left), Margaret (kneeling on the right), Antoninus, and Peter. In the background is a typical Piero landscape, with two hills characterized by rock with human and beast appearances, and where other scenes of the Adoration of the Magi, the Annunciation to the Shepherds on the left and Flight to Egypt on the right are depicted.”[1]

    “The theme of the incarnation of Jesus in the womb of Mary did not have an established pictorial tradition. Never predictable, Piero di Cosimo embraced the challenge of depicting this subject, placing the Virgin on the central axis with the dove above and the fallen book on the ground below. Scenes in miniature from the early life of Christ are hidden in the rugged hilltops on each side of the picture. A bright, crystalline light emanates from the dove and illuminates the faces of the six saints who, with their carefully differentiated, readily identifiable features, are each contemplating the Virgin. Those closest to her are the bishop of Florence, Antoninus Pierozzi, and Philip Benizi, founder of the Order of the Servants of Mary. [Peter stands far right, holding a book and keys in his left hand.]”[2]

    … Height: 81 in. (206 cm), width: 68 in. (172 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: Piero di Cosimo, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons; photo by Spike
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “Lamentation Over the Dead Christ,” tempera on panel, painted by Sandro Botticelli, 1490–1492

    “The Lamentation over the Dead Christ theme, common in art history since the High Middle Ages, captures a precise moment between the Deposition from the Cross and the Deposition in the Sepulcher. It is a very human moment, in which the friends and mother of Jesus weep and cry out all their pain before the body of the crucifix. It was, also, an interesting subject for artists, who have experienced their ability to represent pain in it. Paul, with the sword, witnesses the scene as if he had been present at the moment of Christ’s death. Together with him, Saint Jerome [far left, not mentioned in the Bible], dressed as a hermit who beats his chest with a stone because in the church of Saint Paulinus there was a brotherhood of penitents who financially supported the church. On the right stands Saint Peter, a figure often represented together with Saint Paul. [Also included are: Jesus’ mother, center, holding her son; Saint John the Evangelist who supports her; and Mary Magdalene, left, looking sorrowfully at the nail wounds in Jesus’ feet.]

    “Unlike other Lamentations set near the cross, in which the sky and summit of Golgotha is visible, Botticelli sets this in front of the sepulcher; the rocky wall from which it is excavated completely closes the background of the painting, as if to push towards the observer the sound of the silent crying of the people who complain about the body of Jesus. No one screams in the framework of Botticelli. It is a silent and respectful pain. Botticelli also seems to insert a reason for hope: The rock wall of the sepulcher is not homogeneous; it is already broken by the earthquake which, according to the gospel story (Matthew 27:51–52), broke out after the death of Jesus.”[1]

    … Height: 55.1 in. (140 cm), width: 82.3 in. (209 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: WikiArt; Alte Pinakothek, Munich
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “Saint Peter, Saint Paul, and Saint John the Baptist,” print engraved by Bartholomeus Spranger, before 1604

    “Flemish artist Bartholomeus Spranger (1546–1611) was a master of Mannerism, serving a cardinal, a pope, and two Holy Roman Emperors — most notably, as court painter for Rudolf II in Prague. He created paintings, drawings, and prints of evocative religious and political allegories, as well as atmospheric landscapes and a few rare portraits, all of which offer an abundance of visual pleasure.”[1]

    Centered in Spranger’s engraved print is Saint John the Baptizer, depicted herein as a preacher anticipating a messianic figure greater than himself. John used baptism as the central symbol or sacrament of his pre-messianic movement. Most scholars agree that John baptized Jesus. John was frequently shown in Christian art, identifiable by his cross and camel-hair clothing with a leather belt. Spranger has him pointing to and acknowledging the Holy Spirit, represented by a dove, descending from heaven (John 1:29–34).

    Peter [left] is typically accompanied by his Bible and keys to heaven, while Paul, next to his sword, writes with pen and ink; he wrote four of thirteen books of the New Testament while under house arrest: Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, and Philippians. Incidentally, the Latin inscription that the artist put at the bottom of his engraving, beginning with “EGO” is translated as: “I am with you, and my Spirit will be in you.”

    … Height: 10 9/16 in. (26.8 cm), width: 7 7/8 in. (20 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: The Met; The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1949
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “Peter and John Running to the Tomb,” oil on canvas, Eugène Burnand, 1898

    “This painting’s full title is ‘The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection.’ It is Burnand’s best-known work. The French state acquired it when it was shown at the Salon du Champ-de-Mars in 1898.”[1]

    You won’t find this oil painting exhibited in the Louvre, the National Gallery, or The Met. It hangs on display in the former Gare d’Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station in Paris, now the Musée d’Orsay, a museum on the Left Bank of the Seine.

    Here, Peter and John are rushing to Christ Jesus’s tomb after learning from Mary of Magdala that she and other women found the Lord’s tomb empty because he had risen. Uncomfortable with what she’d said, the faces of both disciples reveal their doubt. John (left, in white), the younger of the two disciples, clutches his hands together anxiously. Peter, in brown, unsure of Mary’s report, appears terrified, yet he wants to be shown that Jesus had in fact conquered death and was resurrected on that first Easter morning (John 20:1–10).

    Enjoy watch this video clip (3 minutes), describing the thoughts and emotions of both disciples as they approached the tomb.

    … Height: 32 in. (81 cm), width: 55.5 in. (141 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: Eugène Burnand, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

    Return to the “Peter Masterpieces” album’s opening page  or  to the top of this page.

  • “Saints Peter and Paul,” tempera on poplar, painted by Carlo Crivelli, c. 1470

    “Saint Peter is on the right with his keys; Saint Paul is on the left with a sword. As was the established practice, Saint Peter is shown as older than Saint Paul, with white hair, a tonsure [partially shaved top of head] and a beard. Saint Paul is shown with dark-brown hair and a long beard. As in the gospels: both wear a tunic next to the skin with an outer garment over it; their skin is darkened by the sun and wind; their bare feet signify their following of Christ in the way of humble discipleship. By showing the two saints together in the same image, Crivelli may be drawing on the motif known as the concordia apostolorum, in which the two apostles embrace, despite the fact that Crivelli does not show them embracing.

    “Saint Peter holds in his left hand an open book, which was a sign of true doctrine. With his right hand, he points out a passage to Saint Paul; both saints seem to be reading it intently. The book in Saint Paul’s left hand is closed, but one page is marked. Crivelli used layers of gesso [white mineral gypsum] to give emphasis to the brass furnishing of these two books; the haloes, Peter’s keys, and Paul’s sword also stand out from the flat surface. Saint Peter is presented as the one who is instructing Saint Paul in important doctrine.”[1]

    Crivelli was renowned for his highly individual style and way of handling materials to create a three-dimensional effect. This painting comes from a polyptych — an altarpiece made of a number of panels — painted for the high altar of a parish church of Porto San Georgio, in the harbor city Fermo, Italy.

    … Height: 36 3/4 in. (93.3 cm), width: 18.5 in. (47 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: Carlo Crivelli, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “Paul Visits Peter in Prison,” fresco painted by Filippino Lippi, 1481

    The Golden Legend (a.k.a. Readings of the Saints) tells the [fictional] story of Theophilus, Prefect of Antioch, who put Peter in Mamertine Prison; and there the apostle would certainly have languished for the rest of his days, had not Saint Paul, who frequently visited him in his cell, gone to Theophilus and told him that Peter had the power to resurrect the dead. Theophilus was very interested and told Paul that he would have Peter released immediately if he were able to resurrect his son, who had died fourteen years previously. [Note: No such account is found in the Bible. Any association of Mamertine Prison (a.k.a. the Tullianum) with Saint Peter is a matter of legend, rather than reliable biblical and historical fact.]”[1]

    “The Bible doesn’t tell us how the apostle Peter died. The most commonly accepted church tradition is that he was crucified upside-down in Rome, put to death on an inverted cross. The reason: Because he’d denied his Lord, he didn’t consider himself worthy to die as Jesus had (see Matthew 26:33–35, 69–75). Again, this is only a tradition; the Bible doesn’t confirm or deny the story. What we do know for sure about Peter’s death is documented in John 21:18–19.

    “Although details about his death were gruesome, Peter must have taken comfort and joy in hearing that his death would glorify God. His love for Jesus and his desire to obey and glorify Him were evident throughout the rest of his life and ministry. To have died a martyr’s death, clinging to the hope of heaven, testifies to the courage, faith, patience, and perseverance of this great man of God who rejoiced to be counted worthy to die for Jesus’ name.”[2]

    … Height: 90.5 in. (230 cm), width: 34.6 in. (88 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: Filippino Lippi, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons; Marie-Lan Nguyen
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “Betrayal of Christ, from The Passion,” woodcut print, engraved by Albrecht Dürer, 1508

    In Albrecht Dürer’s “Betrayal of Christ” engraving (sheet #3 of 16), “Saint Peter, striking Malchus [the high priest’s servant], seems to take the spotlight away from Christ. The head of Malchus is strongly reminiscent of that in a Schongauer’s engraving. The episode in the background, showing a fleeing youth, represents the rarely illustrated passage in Mark 14:51–52, perhaps transmitted by Passion plays.

    “The object underneath Malchus is a lantern, which he customarily carries in Passion plays. The emphasis here is shifted from the commotion of the arrest to the tragedy of the betrayal. Physical violence is limited to the duel between Peter and Malchus. Christ, unconscious of the [symbolic] noose that threatens his neck, bends his head and closes his eyes to receive the kiss of betrayal, as though Judas and he were alone in the universe.”[1]

    You can see all sixteen of Dürer’s woodcuts in his “The Engraved Passion” (1507–1512) collection. The sequence of subjects in The Passion collection start with “The Man of Sorrows” (sheet #1) and ends with “Saint Peter and Saint John” (sheet #16).

    Also see more than ten works of art in Warren Camp’s “Peter Masterpieces” photo album — page 10 — titled “Peter Cuts Off Malchus’ Ear.”

    … Height: 4 5/8 in. (118 cm), width: 2 15/16 in. (75 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: The Met; an anonymous gift, 1918
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “Madonna, Child, with Five Saints,” oil on wood panel, painted by Jacopo da Pontormo, c. 1529

    “The Madonna and Child with Five Saints is an oil-on-panel painting by Jacopo da Pontormo. It was produced for the monastery of Sant’Anna in Verzaia, just outside Florence’s Porta San Frediano, hence the presence of Saint Anne [behind Madonna]. From left to right, the other saints are Andrew the apostle [Peter’s brother] in green, Peter in red and blue, the semi-nude Sebastian, and Benedict of Nursia in a monk’s habit.”[1]

    “As time passed, Pontormo (born Jacopo Carucci in 1494) moved toward an increasingly personal conception of the human figure, with small oval heads and smallish features upon elongated, but also rather robust, bodies. In this altarpiece, the colours are more full-bodied and deeper than in his ‘The Deposition from the Cross’ that he completed in 1528, featured here.”[2]

    Biblical facts about Peter and Andrew: “Simon lived in Capernaum on the coast of the Sea of Galilee. He was married (1 Corinthians 9:5). He and James and John were partners in a fishing business (Luke 5:10). Simon met Jesus through his brother, Andrew, who had followed Jesus after hearing John the Baptist proclaim that Jesus was the Lamb of God (John 1:35–36). Andrew immediately went to find his brother to bring him to Jesus. Upon meeting Simon, Jesus gave him a new name: Cephas (Aramaic) or Peter (Greek), both mean “rock” (John 1:40–42). Later, Jesus officially called Peter to follow Him, producing a miraculous catch of fish (Luke 5:1–7). Immediately, Peter left everything behind to follow the Lord (v. 11).”[3]

    … Height: 89.7 in. (228 cm), width: 69.2 in. (176 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: Pontormo, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “St. Peter and St. Andrew, from The Apostles” engraved print, by Israhel van Meckenem, 1480–1490

    “St. Peter and St. Andrew: The apostles are standing underneath an arch behind a balustrade under which their Creed appears on scrolls. Peter holds a key, Andrew the cross; second state. c. 1485 . . . Signed ‘I M’ underneath the lower borderline, inscribed ‘Credo in deum Et in ihesu xpm,’ [meaning: ‘I believe in God and in Jesus.]’

    “Curator’s comments: Part of The Apostles series, consisting of six engravings with the apostles in pairs (L 294–99). This set is considered to be the latest apostle series engraved by Meckenem. The entire suite is extant [but may not be on view now] at the British Museum.”[1]

    Biblical facts about Peter and Andrew: “Simon lived in Capernaum on the coast of the Sea of Galilee; he was married (1 Corinthians 9:5). He and James and John were partners in a fishing business (Luke 5:10). Simon met Jesus through his brother, Andrew, who had followed Jesus after hearing John the Baptist proclaim that Jesus was the Lamb of God (John 1:35–36). Andrew immediately went to find his brother to bring him to Jesus. Upon meeting Simon, Jesus gave him a new name: Cephas (Aramaic) or Peter (Greek), both mean “rock” (John 1:40–42). Later, Jesus officially called Peter to follow Him, producing a miraculous catch of fish (Luke 5:1–7). Immediately, Peter left everything behind to follow the Lord (v. 11).”[2]

    … Height: 8 5/16 in. (21.1 cm), width: 5 9/16 in. (14.2 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: The Met; Felix M. Warburg and his family, 1941
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “The Virgin Mary with the Apostles and Other Saints,” egg tempera on wood, painted by Fra Angelico, c. 1424

    “This panel comes from the predella (lowest part) of the altarpiece made for the high altar of San Domenico, Fiesole. Fra Angelico was a Dominican friar, as well as a painter. Predellas usually showed narrative scenes of the lives of the saints who were depicted in the main part of the altarpiece. Its saints face right toward the central panel [not shown in the above slide], which shows Christ in glory after his resurrection from the dead.

    The Virgin [top-right corner] kneels at the head of the top row of saints and raises her hands in prayer before Christ, her son. Behind her [to her left] are two groups of saints; the apostle Peter, with a book and the keys of heaven promised to him by Christ, is next to her. Each saint is painted in great detail, their faces as individual as their costumes. They carry objects associated with their lives or the instruments of their death.”[1]

    Fra Angelico features Peter near the top-right corner, to the left of Mary. Haloed Peter holds large keys in his right hand and a book in his left hand, which symbolizes the Bible, which states in Matthew 16:19: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Note: “Jesus’ words meant that Peter would have the right to enter the kingdom himself, that he’d have general authority symbolized by the possession of the keys, and that by preaching the gospel, he’d have the ability to open the kingdom of heaven to all believers, shutting it against unbelievers. The expressions bind and loose were common to Jewish legal phraseology, meaning to declare something forbidden or allowed.”[2]

    … Height: 12.6 in. (32 cm), width: 25.2 in. (64 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: The National Gallery, London; bought, 1860
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “Saints Peter and Paul, Seated in a Landscape,” engraved print by Lucas van Leyden, 1527

    Lucas van Leyden has put Saint Peter on the left, next to Saint Paul; both sit in front of a landscape. Peter holds a large key in his right hand while aiming his left hand to the left, toward Paul, while keeping his eyes directly on the viewer. Peter appears to be reaching over and pointing to an open book that the artist has placed in Saint Paul’s lap.

    As Paul turns a page of his book with his left hand, his facial expression and right-hand gesture seem to present a disagreement between both apostles, possibly that which involved Paul’s complaint that Peter had forced Gentile believers to follow Jewish customs. Interestingly, Paul rests his foot on his sword during this exchange, suggesting and reinforcing their peaceful fellowship.

    We learn from what Apostle Paul tells us in his epistle to the Galatians that he and Peter had had a sharp encounter. Paul rebuked his fellow apostle for caving in to legalistic Jews who’d arrived in Antioch, saying that people from all ethnic backgrounds had to satisfy the Jewish ritual law before they could become proper Christians: Men had to be circumcised; no one could eat pork. Eating and drinking with Gentiles (who were considered unclean) was a violation of social and religious protocol. To appease them, Peter withdrew from the Gentile Christians. Apostle Paul saw this as hypocrisy and called it out to Peter’s face (Galatians 2:11–21).

    … Height: 3 15/16 in. (10 cm), width: 5 11/16 in. (14.4 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: The Met; Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1948
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “Apostles Meet in the Upper Room,” engraved print by Philip Galle, after Jan van der Straet, 1550–1570

    This engraving is by Philip Galle, after Jan van der Straet (also called Joannes Stradanus); it’s part of his “Acts of the Apostles” collection of engraved plates. This one depicts actions within what the Bible calls “the upper room,” also known as the “cenacle.” The four gospel accounts reveal a variety of details about what happened in the upper room: Matthew 26:1–29, Mark 14:12–25, Luke 22:7–20, and John 13:1–38. “During these last hours that Jesus spent with His beloved friends, He ate with them, instituted the New Covenant in His blood, gave them last-minute instructions and encouragement, and prayed His ‘high priestly prayer’ over them. Then He went out to face the sorrow, betrayal, rejection, and death for which He had come into the world.

    “This poignant last meeting with His disciples, whom He loved, begins with an object lesson from Jesus. The disciples had been arguing about who among them was the greatest (Luke 22:24), displaying a distinctly ungodly perspective. Jesus quietly rose and began to wash their feet, a task normally performed by the lowest, most menial slave. By this simple act, Jesus reminded them that His followers are those who serve one another, not those who expect to be served. He went on to explain that, unless the Lamb of God cleanses a person’s sin, that person will never be clean: ‘Unless I wash you, you have no part with me’ (John 13:8).”[1]

    It was also in the upper room that Jesus, after the Last Supper, made his first prediction of Peter’s upcoming denials (Luke 22:31–38).

    … Height: 8.9 in. (22.7 cm), width: 12 in. (30.5 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: National Gallery of Art; Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “The Betrayal of Christ,” egg tempera on poplar, painted by Ugolino di Nerio, 1325–1328

    “Ugolino di Nerio’s painting is one of the seven altarpiece panels that formed the predella of the now-dismembered altarpiece painted by him for the Franciscan church of Santa Croce, Florence. All of the predella panels were, from the left to the right, according to a nineteenth-century drawing attributed to Humbert de Superville, as follows: ‘The Last Supper’ (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), ‘The Betrayal of Christ’ (National Gallery, London), ‘The Flagellation’ (Staatliche Museen, Berlin), ‘The Way to Calvary’ (National Gallery, London), ‘The Deposition’ (National Gallery, London), ‘The Entombment’ (Staatliche Museen, Berlin), and ‘The Resurrection’ (National Gallery, London). In the predella scenes, the iconography is based very closely on the equivalent scene in Duccio’s Maestà for the medieval Siena Cathedral in Siena, Italy.”[1]

    “This panel is one of four in our collection that come from the lowest part of an altarpiece (the predella) made for the church of Santa Croce in Florence. It shows the moment, described in the Gospels, when Jesus Christ was arrested by Roman soldiers. The soldiers are on the right in elaborate armour; their helmets were originally silver but the silver leaf has darkened over time. They were accompanied by chief priests from the Jewish Temple: the bearded men on the left of the scene. The arrest was organised by Christ’s disciple, Judas. We see him in the centre of the scene, kissing Jesus on the cheek, a prearranged signal for the authorities: ‘The one I shall kiss is the man; seize him and lead him away under guard’ (Mark 14:44–45). As this is happening, Jesus raises his hand to rebuke Saint Peter, as he sees him assaulting one of the men [far left, cutting the man’s ear].”[2]

    … Height: 15.9 in. (40.4 cm), width: 23.1 in. (58.8 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: public domain, via Web Gallery of Art; The National Gallery, London
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “Saint Peter and Simon Magus,” tempera on wood, painted by Benozzo Gozzoli, undated

    “This is one of four panels that were commissioned in the 1460s by the Alessandri family in Florence, in order to update a Gothic-style altarpiece painted 150 years earlier in the church of San Pier Maggiore. In them [left to right]: (1) the fifth-century bishop of Florence resuscitates a dead child on the square in front of San Pier Maggiore; (2) [this painting] the magician, Simon Magus, crashes to the ground at Emperor Nero’s feet when Peter commands the demons who suspended him in midair to let him go; (3) Saint Paul falls from his horse at the apparition of Christ; and (4) Totila, king of the Goths, asks the blessing of Saint Benedict. From his work with Fra Angelico and the sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti, Gozzoli evolved a narrative style of great charm.”[1]

    “Simon the Sorcerer, sometimes referred to as Simon Magus or Simon of Gitta, is mentioned by Luke in Acts 8:9–24. He appeared in the wake of the newly established church in Samaria. Sorcery, which is strongly condemned by God (Deuteronomy 18:9–13), was common in the ancient world, and, while some acts and demonstrations were no more than illusions of the mind, others were empowered by Satan in an attempt to discredit the power of God (Matthew 24:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:9). It appears Simon was the latter, as Luke states that he had amazed the Samaritans ‘for a long time with his sorcery’ (Acts 8:11), some even declaring that he was ‘the Great Power of God’ (v. 10), a messianic title. Interestingly, however, Simon’s empowerment by Satan did not include loyalty to the demonic. In the wake of hearing and seeing the disciple Philip ‘as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ’ (v. 12), Simon was baptized into the early church and ‘followed Philip everywhere’ (v. 13).”[2]

    … Height: 15 3/4 in. (40 cm), width: 18 in. (45.7 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: The Met; Rogers Fund, 1915
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “The Apostles Baptizing in Jerusalem,” engraved print by Philip Galle, after Maarten van Heemskerck, 1575

    Philip Galle placed haloed Peter in the front-left corner of his engraved print of plate 4. Holding the keys of heaven in his left hand, Peter baptizes a kneeling man using water from a large basin. This print’s footer, in Latin, is translated as “Acts, Chapter 2: Where the greatest number are baptized with all the goods conferred on them in common.” Above the footer, Galle identifies Maarten van Heemskerck as the design inventor of this plate’s design.

    “The ‘Acts from the Apostles’ series of engravings is almost certainly based on drawings by Marten (Maerten) van Heemskerck, and dates from the year after his death in 1574. Van Heemskerck, one of the leading artists of his century in Haarlem, was one of the first Netherlandish artists to make drawings specifically for reproduction by commercial printmakers such as we see here. He adopted a technique of cross-hatchings and stippling to assist the engraver.

    “Galle’s engraving is plate 4 from a series of 34 plates depicting the New Testament book of Acts. It shows the dramatic effects of Peter’s (and fellow apostles’) message to the people of Jerusalem, exhorting them to repent and convert to Christianity; it is inspired by Acts 2:41–44: ‘Those who accepted his message were baptised, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common.’[1]

    … Height: 8.1 in. (206 mm), width: 10.9 in. (276 mm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: Museum of New Zealand; Gift of Sir John Ilott, 1970, Te Papa (1970-0030-8)
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “St Peter, St John, and St Philip, Laying Their Hands on the Baptized Samaritans,” engraved print by Philip Galle, 1575

    Philip Galle placed haloed Peter in the center of his engraving. Holding heaven’s keys in his left hand, Peter lays his right hand on a kneeling Samaritan in front of witnesses. This print’s footer cites in Latin: “Acts, Chapter 8.” Above the footer, Galle identifies Maarten van Heemskerck as the design inventor of this plate’s design.

    “The ‘Acts from the Apostles’ series of engravings is almost certainly based on drawings by Marten (Maerten) van Heemskerck, and dates from the year after his death in 1574. Van Heemskerck, one of the leading artists of his century in Haarlem, was one of the first Netherlandish artists to make drawings specifically for reproduction by commercial printmakers such as we see here. He adopted a technique of cross-hatchings and stippling to assist the engraver.

    “Galle’s engraving is plate 10 from a series of 34 plates depicting the New Testament book of Acts. The episode depicted is from 8:12–18, when the people of Samaria believed the apostle Philip and ‘as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women’ (v. 12). The converts included the renowned Simon the Sorcerer. ‘When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.’ (vv. 14–17).”[1]

    … Height: 8.1 in. (206 mm), width: 10.9 in. (276 mm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: Museum of New Zealand; Gift of Sir John Ilott, 1970, Te Papa (1970-0030-9)
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints,” oil and tempera on panel, painted by Piero di Cosimo, c. 1493

    “Piero di Cosimo was a versatile artist. Painting mostly on panel in impeccable detail, he depicted religious subjects as well as mythological scenes. Many of his works remain in the churches for which they were painted in central Italy; others, made for prominent families in Renaissance Florence, are now in the permanent collections of American museums.”[1]

    “The son of a goldsmith, Lorenzo di Piero, Piero was born in Florence and apprenticed under the artist Cosimo Rosseli, from whom he derived his popular name and assisted in the painting of the Sistine Chapel in 1481. Piero enjoyed a great reputation as a portrait painter.”[2]

    Herein, the artist has put Saint Peter on the left and Saint John the Baptizer on the right. The realism in this composition is impressive, conveying each character’s individuality. Tiny details are precisely executed, down to the metallic shine on Saint Peter’s keys. This painting can be seen at the Museo degli Innocenti, Florence. Piero worked in many different fields of art. He produced some of the most handsome and dignified religious paintings of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries: altarpieces for churches and other religious institutions, as well as “tondi” (large circular paintings of members of the Holy Family) and paintings of individual saints, for private houses.

    … Height: 80 in. (203 cm), width: 77 1/2 in. (197 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: Piero di Cosimo, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “Saint John and Saint Peter at the Empty Tomb of Christ,” oil on canvas, painted by Giovanni Francesco Romanelli, c. 1641

    “Giovanni Francesco Romanelli was a major Italian painter of the Baroque period, celebrated for his use of bright vivid colors and clarity of detail. Many of his works are on display in the Louvre.”[1]

    Scripture backup for this artwork: The Empty Tomb Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple [John, younger and more athletic], the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head (John 20:1–7a).

    Apostle John (left), a direct witness of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, most appropriately reconstructed his eye-witness account in chapter 20 of his gospel. He recounted that day’s details with precision. Although a few decades had passed since he and Peter had run to the tomb, and he too had aged, his memory of what had happened thankfully remained intact.

    … Height: 18.4 in. (46.8 cm), width: 15.1 in. (38.4 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: Giovanni Francesco Romanelli, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “Saints Peter and Paul in a vestibule,” etched print by Rombout Eynhoudts, c. 1630–1680

    Rombout Eynhoudts (1613–1680) was a Flemish painter and etcher who worked in the Rubens workshop. As noted at the left side of the footer, Eynhoudts created this etching after a painting by Peter Paul Rubens.

    Apparently, our artist posed a “compare and contrast” etching to highlight the nature of both apostles’ personalities and actions: Saint Paul on the left, holding his iconic sword, and Saint Peter on the right, holding symbolic keys to heaven, each man centered amid a vestibule arch. Eynhoudts presents the figures as: a tentmaker vs. a fisherman; the apostle to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:7–8) vs. the apostle to the Jews; literate vs. illiterate. The names of both apostles were changed: Saul became Paul; Simon was renamed Peter, meaning “the rock” in Aramaic and Greek. Among the company of early Christians, both apostles appeared unlikely to have become leading figures: Paul persecuted the emerging Church while Peter denied Christ three times. Eventually, Paul and Peter were martyred for truly and devotedly following Christ’s call upon each man’s life.

    Peter needed to be corrected because of his ill-conceived notions about non-Jewish people. Eating and drinking with Gentiles (who Jews considered unclean) was a violation of social and religious protocol. Peter said, “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile” (Acts 10:28a). It took nothing less than the supernatural activity of God (vv. 9–23) to convince him that he “should not call anyone impure or unclean” (v. 28b).

    … Height: 10 9/16 in. (26.8 cm), width: 12 3/8 in. (31.5 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: The Met; The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1951

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  • “Saint Peter and Saint Paul,” oil on canvas, painted by Jusepe de Ribera, c. 1616

    “The Latin inscription in the lower part of the painting [Josephus Ribera Hispanus Valentinus Civitatis Setabis Academicus Romanus; i.e. ‘José Ribera, a Spaniard from the Kingdom of Valencia, the city of Xàtiva, the Academy of Rome’] denotes the links with Rome and the importance of the work, which is strongly reflected in its place in Ribera’s work. Born near Valencia in Spain, where he was trained, he moved to Italy very early on. After a fruitful stay in Rome through his discovery of Caravaggio, he settled permanently in Naples, a Spanish stronghold. Also called ‘Lo Spagnoletto,’ he was the most important Neapolitan painter of his time, working for local clergy and nobles, as well as for Spain.

    “In this already classic composition, we will admire in particular the sculptural presence of the two saints, visible even in the naturalism of their filthy nails. Ribera painted directly, without preparatory drawing, using a canvas already used. The rendering of shadows and materials is masterful.

    “Bound by the acuity of the play of glances, the two founding fathers of the Church, recognizable by their attributes, are represented in a belligerent attitude: Saint Paul, brandishing his sword, in front of his open book, facing his elder Saint Peter, provided with his key and dressed in his brown ocher cloak, symbol of revealed faith. Avoiding too much droop, Ribera showed his virtuosity in the layout, thanks to the depth rendered by the arm of Saint Paul. The piece of still-life from the books testifies to the mastery of the young artist.”[1]

    … Height: 49.6 in. (126 cm), width: 44 in. (112 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: Jusepe de Ribera, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “Saint Peter and Saint John the Baptist,” tempera on panel, painted by Francesco del Cossa, 1470–1473

    “Francesco del Cossa painted these two predella panels of the Griffoni polyptych, one of Cossa’s major works. Its reconstruction, after having been dismembered in the 18th century, is not unambiguous. It seems certain that the central panel was the painting of Saint Vincent Ferrer [shown here], while on his sides were Saint Peter and Saint John the Baptist. A painting of Saint Lucy was probably located on the upper part of the sides while a Crucifixion tondo [a large circular painting, usually of members of the Holy Family] was in the upper central position.”[1]

    “The paintings of Peter [left] and John the Baptizer constitute one of the wings of a large altarpiece executed around 1473 to a commission from the merchant Floriano Griffoni, intended for the family chapel in the Bolognese church of San Petronio. The polyptych, dedicated to Saint Vincent Ferrer, was ordered just a few years after the saint’s canonization (1458), painted by the artist in collaboration with Ercole de’ Roberti, who executed the small panels of the predella. The work remained in the Griffoni Chapel until 1725–30, when the individual panels were sold separately on the antique market and dispersed.

    “The two saints — Peter and John the Baptist — displaying all the solidity of wooden sculpture, stand on rocky outcrops which serve to isolate them, almost like the base of a statue, from the bizarre landscape where arches with unstable keystones frame plains criss-crossed by rivers and dotted with buildings.”[2]  …  Special: You can see this digital reconstruction of the altarpiece; a facsimile that provides enlargements of all sixteen panels!

    … Height: 44 in. (112 cm), width: 21.6 in. (55 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: Francesco del Cossa, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “St. John and St. Peter at Christ’s Tomb,” oil on silvered copper, painted by Giovanni Francesco Romanelli, c. 1640

    “Giovanni Francesco Romanelli was a major Italian painter of the Baroque period, celebrated for his use of bright vivid colors and clarity of detail. Many of his works are on display in the Louvre.”[1]

    Scripture backup for this artwork: The Empty Tomb Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple [John, younger and more athletic], the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head (John 20:1–7a).

    Apostle John (right), a direct witness of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, most appropriately reconstructed his eye-witness account in chapter 20 of his gospel. He recounted that day’s details with precision. Although a few decades had passed since he and Peter had run to the tomb, and he too had aged, his memory of what had happened thankfully remained intact.

    … Height: 18.3 in. (46.6 cm), width: 15.1 in. (55 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • •  That ends “Peter’s Presence with Other Apostles” . . .
    •  Now begins “Peter and Jesus, Both Walking on Water”

    “Christ Walking on the Sea,” hand-colored lithograph by Nathaniel Currier, 1835–1856

    This lithograph by Nathaniel Currier shows the conclusion of one of the miraculous events in Jesus’ life, when he directed his disciples to travel by boat across the Sea of Galilee, expecting to join them after he’d meditate and pray alone atop a mountain. But a storm swept the boat of disciples off course, causing Jesus to walk across the surface of the water to rescue them. Overcome by fear while thinking that he might be a ghost, the disciples panicked. As a result, Jesus calmed the waters and saved everyone on board. In awe of his miraculous feat, his disciples declared, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Yet, it was Peter who left the boat to walk on the water toward Jesus before he promptly took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink. [Read the related Bible passage linked below.]

    The miracle of Jesus walking on the water, recorded in three of the gospels (Matthew 14:22–36; Mark 6:45–56; John 6:16–21), came on the heels of His miraculous feeding of the 5,000 with only five loaves of bread and two fish (Matt. 14:17). But it was the miracle of Jesus walking on the water that, more than any other, convinced Jesus’ disciples that He was indeed the Son of God (Matt. 14:32–33).[1]

    The disciples in the boat had endured the night’s storm. Earlier they’d seen Christ walking toward them atop the water, as if he were a ghost. But Jesus immediately reminded his disciples of his deity, encouraging them to not fear him: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Emboldened by Jesus’ voice, Peter responded, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Peter knew that, if Jesus was God, Jesus would provide the ability for him to come. He trusted the Lord. It’s not reported how far Peter walked toward Jesus but it was likely more than a few steps: “Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.” But Peter eventually lost his faith in Jesus being God Almighty when the wind caught his attention and he began to sink (Matthew 14:22–33).

    … Dimensions: not shown by the Library of Congress
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: N. Currier (Firm), public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “Walking on Water,” oil on canvas, painted by Ivan Aivazovsky, 1888

    “Ivan Aivazovsky [a Russian Romantic painter] was a brilliant marine painter who created more than six thousand works of art, many devoted to religious subjects. When creating masterpieces on biblical themes, his main vocation was to master the imagery of water. This figure of Christ is illuminated: a bright, dazzling flare falls on the water surface, on the faces of those in the boat, and on Apostle Peter who holds out both hands to the Savior.”[1]

    The disciples in the boat had endured the night’s storm. Earlier they’d seen Christ walking toward them atop the water, as if he were a ghost. But Jesus immediately reminded his disciples of his deity, encouraging them to not fear him: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Emboldened by Jesus’ voice, Peter responded, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Peter knew that, if Jesus was God, Jesus would provide the ability for him to come. He trusted the Lord. It’s not reported how far Peter walked toward Jesus but it was likely more than a few steps: “Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.” But Peter eventually lost his faith in Jesus being God Almighty when the wind caught his attention and he began to sink (Matthew 14:22–33).

    “Aivazovsky employed this painting to present Christ as a comforting Savior to the Russian congregation traumatised by the social and political events of the day. The boat was an emblematic metaphor for the Church and State, sailing through stormy waters at the brink of a revolution. Thus, Aivazovsky paints a narrative of adversity, safety, and salvation. He applied his masterly skills to acknowledge the Master of the Sea!”[2]

    … Dimensions not provided
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: Ivan Ayvazovsky, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “Saint Peter Walks on the Sea,” watercolor on wove paper, painted by James Tissot, 1886–1896

    [ James Tissot (French, 1836–1902): “Saint Peter Walks on the Sea (Saint Pierre marche sur la mer),” 1886–1896. Brooklyn Museum, purchased by public subscription, 00.159.140 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 00.159.140_PS2.jpg); see Tissot’s “Life of Christ” collection of 124 watercolors selected from a set of 350 that depict detailed scenes from the New Testament.]

    Jacques-Joseph Tissot was born in 1836, in Nantes, a seaport on the French coast. In 1856, Tissot went to Paris to train as a painter where he changed his first name from Jacques-Joseph to the anglicised Christian name, James. He eventually produced a volume in 1899 titled “The Life of Christ” including 124 watercolors selected from a set of 350 paintings showing scenes from Jesus’ life, in a chronological narrative, as recounted in the gospels. Throughout this series, Tissot portrayed Jesus Christ, not as a haloed superhero but with the aim of educating and clarifying, by presenting the Lord Jesus as a godly teacher.

    The disciples in the boat had endured the night’s storm. Earlier they’d seen Christ walking toward them atop the water, as if he were a ghost. But Jesus immediately reminded his disciples of his deity, encouraging them to not fear him: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Emboldened by Jesus’ voice, Peter responded, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Peter knew that, if Jesus was God, Jesus would provide the ability for him to come. He trusted the Lord. It’s not reported how far Peter walked toward Jesus but it was likely more than a few steps: “Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.” But Peter eventually lost his faith in Jesus being God Almighty when the wind caught his attention and he began to sink (Matthew 14:22–33).

    … Height: 7 11/16 in. (19.5 cm), width: 4 5/16 in. (11 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: Brooklyn Museum
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “Christ Walking on Water, Holding the Hand of St. Peter,” engraved print by Jacques Callot, 1607–1611

    One of the greatest printmakers of the 17th century, Jacques Callot created over 1,400 prints. The full title of these small engraved prints is “Christ Walking on Water, Holding the Hand of St. Peter (First or Second Composition),” from Les Tableaux de Rome, Les Eglises Jubilaires (The Paintings of Rome, The Churches Jubilee), plate 8 or 9. They’re the first and second state of three engravings.

    Callot’s engraved print shows Peter in action. When the disciples first saw Jesus walking toward them on the water, they feared that he was a ghost. Possibly influenced by regional tales that said the spirits of those lost at sea would hover over the water, they were terrified. But Jesus immediately reminded his disciples of his deity, encouraging them to not fear him: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Emboldened by Jesus’ voice, Peter responded, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Peter knew that, if Jesus was God, Jesus would provide the ability for him to come. He trusted the Lord. It’s not reported how far Peter walked toward Jesus but it was likely more than a few steps: “Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus” (Matthew 14:22–33).

    Peter and the other disciples knew the stories: God parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14) and piled up the water on the Jordan River’s banks (Joshua 3). Peter had also witnessed the winds that obeyed Jesus’ voice when the storm that almost destroyed their boat calmed. Jesus now stood in front of him, atop the water, saying, “It is I.” Finally and fully trusting Jesus, Peter jumped out of the boat without worry.

    … Plate 8 height: 4 5/8 in. (11.8 cm), width: 2 15/16 in. (7.5 cm); Plate 9 height: 4 3/8 in. (11.1 cm), width: 2 15/16 in. (7.4 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: The Met; The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1959
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “Christ and Peter at the Sea of Galilee,” oil on canvas, painted by Ippolito Scarsella, 1585–1590

    Ippolito Scarsella (1550–1620), commonly known as Scarsellino, was heavily influenced by his Venetian training, producing religious paintings in the Mannerist style. “Christ and Peter at the Sea of Galilee” bears many hallmarks of sixteen-century Venetian painting: a rustic outdoor setting, dramatic contrasts of light and dark, and rich colors. This painting depicts the moment that Peter lost faith in his ability to walk on water, because he lost his focus on who Christ was. The night’s storm had ended; herein the Sea of Galilee is calm.

    The disciples in the boat had endured the night’s storm. Earlier they’d seen Christ walking toward them atop the water, as if he were a ghost. But Jesus immediately reminded his disciples of his deity, encouraging them to not fear him: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Emboldened by Jesus’ voice, Peter responded, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Peter knew that, if Jesus was God, Jesus would provide the ability for him to come. He trusted the Lord. It’s not reported how far Peter walked toward Jesus but it was likely more than a few steps: “Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.” But Peter eventually lost his faith in Jesus being God Almighty when the wind caught his attention and he began to sink (Matthew 14:22–33). His experience reminds us that a lapse of faith is merely a stumble. The Lord is near to raise us back safely to our feet when we call to Him for help.

    Scarsella highlights Jesus reaching out to wide-eyed Peter to save him from drowning. Three other disciples in the boat react to what they’d just seen.

    … Height: 27 1/4 in. (69.2 cm), width: 45 3/4 in. (116.2 cm)
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum: Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

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  • “Peter on the Water,” painting by Eero Järnefelt, 1892

    On this subdued paint-on-panel artwork, Eero Järnefelt depicts Christ Jesus, standing atop the water of Lake Galilee. It’s from the altarpiece of Taulumäki Church in Jyväskylä, Finland.

    As one of Jesus’ closest friends, Peter had seen Lord Jesus perform numerous miracles that enabled people to have had their lives changed completely. We find Jesus, in Matthew 14, who after having fed 5,000 men with just a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish, had sought some “alone time,” choosing to walk up a mountain so he could meditate and pray to Father God while his disciples had already departed by boat to the other side of a lake known as the Sea of Galilee. This is where the story of one of Jesus’ most famous miracles had taken place.

    But a storm swept the boat of disciples off course, causing Jesus to walk across the surface of the water to rescue them. Overcome by fear while thinking that he might be a ghost, the disciples panicked. As a result, Jesus first calmed the waters and subsequently saved everyone on board. In awe of the Lord’s miraculous feat, his disciples declared, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Yet, it was Peter who left the boat to walk on the water toward Jesus, but promptly took his eyes off Jesus, and immediately began to sink (Matthew 14:22–33).

    … Dimensions not provided
    … Photo source, license, attribution, museum details, and image enlargement: Eero Järnefelt, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons; photo Antti Lappaäen
    … The artist’s short biography; his other works of art

    Return to the “Peter Masterpieces” album’s opening page  or  to the top of this page  or  to the start of Warren Camp’s next page: Album: #4.


“Peter” Has Indeed Left an Artistic Mark in Our World

In these albums, see more “Peter Masterpieces” created from renowned art masters from around the world.

 Album 1:  “Peter, Alone” (29 images)
 Album 2:  “Calling Apostle Peter” (12@), “Preaching the Gospel” (6@), and “Powerful Pentecost” (15@)
 Album 3:  “Peter’s Presence with Other Apostles” (28@) and “Walking on Water” (6@)
 Album 4:  “Receiving the Keys of Heaven” (15@), “Transfiguration” (8@), and “Tribute Money” (8@, 6@)
 Album 5:  “Peter Heals People” (23@) and “The Miraculous Catch of Fish” (6@, 7@)
 Album 6:  “Peter Gets Freed from Prison” (30@)
 Album 7:  “Miscellaneous New Testament Depictions of Peter” (35@)
 Album 8:  “Christ Washes Peter’s Feet” (26@)
 Album 9:  “The Last Supper — Part 1” (33@ of 122)
 Album 10:  “The Last Supper — Part 2” (33@ of 122)
 Album 11:  “The Last Supper — Part 3” (34@ of 122)
 Album 12:  “The Last Supper — Part 4” (32@ of 122)
 Album 13:  “Christ’s Agony in the Garden” (32@)
 Album 14:  “Peter Cuts Off Malchus’ Ear” (11@) and “Peter Denies Christ” (23@)
 Album 15:  “Repentant Peter” (13@) and “Peter’s Martyrdom/Crucifixion” (18@)
 Album 16:  “Altarpieces” (3@) and “Stained-Glass Windows Featuring Peter” (14@)




Intro Videos: “First Peter” and “Second Peter”

     Watch this summary video of “First Peter” created by The Bible Project.

     Here’s the “Second Peter” summary video created by The Bible Project.


•  Special Presentation: See more than sixty of Warren Camp’s “Peter Masterpieces” on this 4-minute video clip titled “Holy Week through 100 Paintings,” produced by Christian Art.