St Peter Penitent

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On the night of Christ’s arrest, Peter was questioned about whether or not he knew Jesus. Three times he denied that he knew him, but later he bitterly regretted his denial and repented, as shown here. This is almost certainly the painting commissioned in 1639 by Cardinal Ciriaco Rocci, Papal Legate of Ferrara, for which payment is recorded in Guercino’s account book in April of that year. A preparatory sketch for the painting is in the Teylers Museum in Haarlem and two other paintings by Guercino of this subject are known. A workshop replica of this composition is in the Palazzo Venezia, Rome.

Glossary Open


When an individual or organisation employs an artist to execute a particular project, the process and the resulting work are termed a ‘commission’.


The arrangement of different elements in a work of art.


Specifically used for a group of artists or craftsmen working collaboratively, usually under the direction of a master, up to the mid-17th century. The phrase 'Workshop of…' is used to describe the origin of an artwork when the master artist had no hand in its creation.

Commission, Composition, Workshop


  • Acc. No. NG 39
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 103.70 x 85.80 cm (framed: 125.10 x 109.90 x 6.40 cm)
  • Credit Purchased by the RI 1831; transferred 1859