National Gallery at 150

Major William Clunes, died 1829Major William Clunes, died 1829 Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1864 - 1932)Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1864 - 1932) Diana and ActaeonDiana and Actaeon St Peter PenitentSt Peter Penitent An Old Woman Cooking EggsAn Old Woman Cooking Eggs Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 - 1778)Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 - 1778) The Sacrament of PenanceThe Sacrament of Penance The StormThe Storm Diego Martelli (1839 - 1896)Diego Martelli (1839 - 1896) The Three Graces (Aglaia, Euphrosyne and Thalia)The Three Graces (Aglaia, Euphrosyne and Thalia)

Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri)

St Peter Penitent

"I have chosen this painting because it moves me deeply. The Gospels tell us that Peter, after they had arrested Jesus, denied him three times, but only Luke tells us that when Jesus heard the third denial, "The Lord turned and looked at Peter, and Peter went out and wept bitterly." Peter was not a bad man, he was a weak man unable to fulfil the promises of loyalty he had made to Jesus. So this picture represents the fact that humans are flawed and fallible. Barbieri captures that universal human experience with great compassion. We should look at his painting and be humbled as we recall our own failings."

Richard Holloway, former Bishop of Edinburgh and chair of the Scottish Arts Council

  • Credits Purchased by the RI 1831; transferred 1859
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 103.70 x 85.80 cm