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The Denial of Saint Peter

Ludovico Carracci Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 620

This important late work by Ludovico was painted in his most idiosyncratically personal style, combining unlikely plays on perspective (note how the coals rise up into our space while the uppermost soldier leans back, giving a sense of additional height), idealized forms that are inspired by antiquity but often veer into the archaic (the simplified faces of the figures surrounding Peter), and naturalism (in the flames, reflections of light on metal, and fallen sandal). Ludovico depicted Saint Peter literally thrown off balance when a beautiful woman accuses him of being a follower of Jesus. Roman soldiers surround him in anticipation of what is to come, while Jesus can be seen in the background being led to condemnation.

The Denial of Saint Peter, Ludovico Carracci (Italian, Bologna 1555–1619 Bologna), Oil on canvas

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