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The penitent Saint Peter

The penitent Saint Peter

Technical details

  • Author Alonso Cano
  • Title The penitent Saint Peter
  • Timeline c. 1638
  • Technique Oil on canvas


The penitent Saint Peter is an excellent work by Alonso Cano, a leading figure in Baroque painting in Spain, and corresponds to his Naturalist period, in around 1638. At the time the painter, who was a native of Granada, had been working in Seville and settled in Madrid, invited by the Count-Duke of Olivares to be his painter and valet. The somewhat broken brushstrokes, influenced by Venetian painters and contact with Velázquez, would date this painting from that time. Saint Peter is weeping bitterly in the night after denying Christ three times. His face and hands, joined in an imploring gesture of repentance, are illuminated in a marked chiaroscuro effect. Cano was inspired by The Penitent Saint Peter painted by Jusepe Ribera in ca. 1621, then hanging in the collegiate church of Osuna, in the province of Seville, and which had been donated by the Duke of Osuna's widow, and by the print on the same theme made by Ribera in the same year in Naples.

Location in the museum

You may find this artwork on  Floor 1 Goya’s Background