- Museum number
The penitent St Peter, his hands clasped, a cock in the upper right
Pen and brown ink
- Production date
Height: 190 millimetres
Width: 153 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Modified text from McDonald 2013
The drawing is characteristic of Murillo's work from the last decade of his career when his sheets are generally smaller and concentrate on individual figures. The lines in this drawing are rapid and sketchy and areas of shadow created through concentrations of ink, a style that is markedly different from the confidence and ease of his earlier studies in pen and ink.
The drawing has been compared with Murillo’s painting of the Penitent St Peter (c. 1675-80) now in the Focus-Abengoa Foundation, Seville (Finaldi 2012). It is possible the drawing represents his first thoughts for the painting, but it seems likely that Murillo sought inspiration from Ribera’s work that he would have encountered largely through prints. Ribera’s prints of St Peter and St Jerome for example were widely circulated and provided a powerful model for many artists to emulate.
In the upper right corner of the drawing is the Cock that marks Peter’s repeated denial of being a Christian. Christ predicted that Peter would deny knowing him three times before the cock crowed, a charge that the saint vehemently denied (John 13:38). Murillo’s drawing captures the anguish of the saint as he recognises the truth of Christ’s works, and his failure of nerve after Christ’s arrest.
A.E. Popham, 'Catalogue of Drawings in the Collection formed by Sir Thomas Phillipps, Bart., F.R.S., now in the possession of his Grandson, T. Fitzroy Phillipps Fenwick of Thirlestaine House, Cheltenham', London, 1935, p.234, no.1; D. Angulo, 'Murillo, El San Pedro de los Venerables de Sevilla', Archivo Español de Arte, vol.47, 1974, p.160; J. Brown, 'Murillo and his Drawings', Princeton, 1976, cat.no.86; 'Bartolomé Esteben Murillo: 1617-1682', exh.cat., Royal Academy London, 1983, cat.no.D22 (Mena Marqués); A.E. Pérez Sánchez & B. Navarrete Prieto, 'Tres siglos de dibujo Sevillano', exh.cat., Seville, 1995, cat.no.95; M. P. McDonald, 'Renaissance to Goya: Prints and drawings from Spain', exh.cat., British Museum, London 2012, pp.152 & 154; G. Finaldi (ed), 'Murillo y Justino Neve: el arte de la amistad', (Madrid, Prado, London, Dulwich) 2012, no.17; J. Brown, 'Murillo: Virtuoso draftsman', New Haven and London, 2012, no.82; M. P. McDonald, 'El trazo español en el British Museum: Dibujos del Renacimiento a Goya', exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid 2013, cat.no.36.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1976 BM, 'Spanish Drawings' (no cat.)
1980 Feb-Mar, Nottingham Uni, 'Spanish Art', no. 59
1982 Oct-Dec, Madrid, Museo del Prado, 'Murillo', no. D22
1983 Jan-Mar, London, Royal Academy, 'Murillo', no. D22
1995/6 Nov-Feb, Seville, Hosp Venerables/Sacerdotes, 'Drawings in Seville', no. 95
2012/13 Sept-Jan, London, British Museum, ‘Renaissance to Goya: Prints and Drawings from Spain’
2013 March-June, Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, ‘El trazo español en el British Museum …’
2013, Aug-Nov, Sydney, AGNSW, 'Renaissance to Goya'
2013-4, Dec-Mar, Santa Fe, New Mexico Museum of Modern Art, 'Renaissance to Goya'
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number