Repentant Peter (1637) by Guido Reni

Repentant Peter - Guido Reni - 1637

Artwork Information

TitleRepentant Peter
ArtistGuido Reni
Dimensions74 x 61 cm
Art MovementBaroque
Current LocationKunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria

About Repentant Peter

The artwork “Repentant Peter,” created by Guido Reni in 1637, is a distinguished example of the Baroque art movement. Measuring 74 by 61 centimeters, this religious painting is part of the collection housed at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria. The genre of the artwork is deeply rooted in religious themes, a common characteristic of the period.

The artwork portrays an emotive depiction of Saint Peter, a central figure in Christianity known for his apostleship and his narrative arc of betrayal and remorse. The composition centers on Peter’s face, consumed with emotion, as he looks upwards, perhaps seeking forgiveness or divine intervention. The use of light accentuates the depth of his repentance, casting shadows that highlight the furrows of age and sorrow in his forehead and the tears that might have graced his cheeks. His beard is rendered with lifelike detail, suggesting not only his wisdom but also the weight of his experiences. The hand placed thoughtfully upon his cheek, coupled with his open, baring chest, signifies a vulnerability and openness to spiritual transformation.

Guido Reni’s mastery of the Baroque style is evident in the dramatic use of chiaroscuro, the intense emotional expression of the subject, and the dynamic pose that breaks from the stillness of Renaissance precedents. The viewer is invited to engage with the artwork on a visceral level, contemplating the universal themes of repentance, mercy, and the human condition.

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