Negazione di San Pietro (1610)

Caravaggio (1571-1610)

Negazione di San Pietro (The Denial of Saint Peter)
Oil on canvas, 94 x 125.4 cm
Metropolitan Museum of ArtNew York

Caravaggio’s late works depend for their dramatic effect on brightly lit areas standing in contrast to a dark background. The picture, a marvel of narrative concision, was painted in the last months of Caravaggio’s tempestuous life and marks an extreme stage in his revolutionary style. Standing before a fireplace, Peter is accused of being a follower of Jesus. The pointing finger of the soldier and two fingers of the woman allude to the three accusations and to Peter’s three denials. In 1613 the painting belonged to Guido Reni, who received it from the engraver Luca Ciamberlano as compensation for debts. (MET)