Saints Peter and Paul

Bartolomeo Manfredi Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 620

The tradition of treating Saints Peter and Paul in a double portrait originates in late Byzantine icons. Here, an early follower of Caravaggio updated this iconography in a Baroque mode, engaging a strong light source from the left and carefully depicting the idiosyncrasies of his models’ faces rather than relying on idealized types. Stylistic and technical analysis suggest that this painting may have been executed by two artists: the senior painter Manfredi for Saint Peter and his French acolyte and pupil in Rome, Nicolas Tournier, for Saint Paul. If so, it may have functioned as a personal token of friendship, or been fashioned for an astute collector attuned to how Caravaggio’s style was disseminated among artists in Rome.

Saints Peter and Paul, Bartolomeo Manfredi (Italian, Ostiano 1582–1622 Rome), Oil on canvas

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