Apostle Saints Peter and John

Unknown9th c. AD - 9th c. AD

The National Museum in Warsaw

The National Museum in Warsaw
Warsaw, Poland

Sainted Apostles Peter and John were depicted on the northern wall of the northern aisle, near the western corner. They stand next to each other, dressed in the traditional costume of ancient philosophers: a white tunic (chiton) decorated on the forefront with two vertical, red stripes (Latin: clavi), and a white coat draped around their bodies (himation) embellished with a motif resembling the Greek letter gamma (Γ). They wear sandals (Latin: campagia) typical for the period of late antiquity.
St Peter, described in the Greek legend as the leader of the apostles [literally: coryphaeus, leader of a chorus] and the gatekeeper of the Kingdom of Heaven, was presented according to a relatively early established traditional iconography as an elderly man with a round face, short grey hair and wide, rounded beard. He holds a characteristic attribute – a large key. To his right, a little withdrawn, stands St John described by the legend as the Evangelist and theologian. He holds a large Book of Gospels in his left hand bound with a bejewelled cover. John, the youngest disciple of Christ, was often presented as a young man, yet in Faras he is depicted as an elderly man with an oblong face and a spiky beard, with short, grey, receding hair.


  • Title: Apostle Saints Peter and John
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: 9th c. AD - 9th c. AD
  • Location Created: Faras; Sudan
  • Provenance: From Polish excavations in Faras; in the National Museum in Warsaw since 1964
  • Physical Dimensions: w145 x h260 cm
  • Inv. no.: 234053 NMW
  • Type: Wall Paintings
  • External Link: Digital National Museum in Warsaw
  • Medium: Mud plaster; tempera

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps