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Raphael: The Miraculous Draught of Fishes

Raphael 1483 – 1520

The Miraculous Draught of Fishes

bodycolour on paper on canvas (320 × 390 cm) — 1515-1516 Museum Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Raphael biography

This work is linked to Luke 5:6

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Pope Leo X commissions Raphael to design ten draperies for the lower parts of the walls of the Sistine Chapel. In 1515-16 Raphael creates the cartoons for the wool and silk draperies to be manufactured in Pieter van Aelst's workshop in Brussels. Seven cartoons survive today, and are kept in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Four draperies show scenes from the life of Peter, the other six of Paul's.

This cartoon shows the Lake of Gennesaret, better known as Lake Tiberias or the Sea of Galilee. Peter, still known as Simon at the time, has been fishing all night, but has caught nothing. Jesus asks Peter if he can address a crowd from his boat. Afterwards Jesus tells Peter to throw out his nets, which he does. When he hauls them back in, he is stunned to find them full of fish. Peter immediately joins Jesus, soon after followed by his mates James and John.

For a cartoon with Paul, see Paul in Athens.

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