The Tears of Saint Peter

Jusepe de Ribera (called Lo Spagnoletto) Spanish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 624

This early work by Ribera, who was Spanish by birth but spent his career in Italy, is first mentioned in Rome in 1644 in the collection of Cardinal Benedetto Monaldi Baldeschi. The painting shows Saint Peter after he has denied Christ, his eyes red with tears and his hands clasped in prayer. The figure’s pose embodies the crushing weight of his sin. Seen as a form of confession, such dramatic shedding of tears became central to Catholic devotional practices and was praised in poetry and song.

#5212. The Penitent Saint Peter

The Tears of Saint Peter, Jusepe de Ribera (called Lo Spagnoletto) (Spanish, Játiva 1591–1652 Naples), Oil on canvas

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