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During Jesus’s arrest on the night of the Last Supper, the apostle Peter denied knowing him. Although Christ forgave his betrayal, Peter was consumed by guilt. La Tour represents Peter as an old man, reflecting on his past actions in a state of perpetual repentance. The apostle’s red-rimmed eyes and the uncertain light of the lantern suggest anxious sleepless nights; muted colors and simple forms give visual expression to Peter’s somber emotions. Unlike other artists inspired by Caravaggio, La Tour worked in relative isolation in northeastern France, and his connection to his Italian counterpart remains unclear.

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Details

  • Title: Saint Peter Repentant
  • Creator: Georges de La Tour (French, 1593-1652)
  • Date Created: 1645
  • Physical Dimensions: Framed: 140.3 x 119.1 x 7 cm (55 1/4 x 46 7/8 x 2 3/4 in.); Unframed: 114 x 95 cm (44 7/8 x 37 3/8 in.)
  • Provenance: Possibly Alleyn's College of God's Gift, Dulwich, Surrey, until 1857;, Reverend William Lucas Chafy, until 1878, by inheritance to his heirs;, Heirs of Reverend Chafy, Bath, Somerset, until May 1951;, [Marshall Spink, London];, [M. Knoedler & Co., New York], sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art, 1951.
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/1951.454
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Inscriptions: signed upper right: Georgs delaTour Invet et Pin / 1645
  • Fun Fact: The rooster next to Peter is a reference to Jesus's prediction that Peter will betray him, stating: "Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times."
  • Department: European Painting and Sculpture
  • Culture: France, 17th century
  • Credit Line: Gift of the Hanna Fund
  • Collection: P - French 17th Century
  • Accession Number: 1951.454

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