Caravaggio 1573 – 1610

The calling of Sts Peter and Andrew

oil on canvas (132 × 163 cm) — c. 1602 Museum Royal Collection, Hampton Court, East Molesey

Caravaggio biography

This work is linked to Mark 1:16

Tags: Peter | Andrew

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A beardless Jesus gestures Peter (who was still called Simon at the time) and his brother Andrew to follow him: "Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men".

According to the gospel Peter and Andrew were out fishing on the lake when they were called. Caravaggio gives his own interpretation. Because of his prominence, the man on the left is thought to be Peter.

It is only since 2006 that this painting is attributed to Caravaggio. It was long thought to be a copy of the lost original. A thorough cleaning operation revealed new details that pointed to the Italian master. The work was acquired by the English king Charles I in 1637; it was the discovery of the bill of sale that led art historians to this painting in the Royal Collection.

One of the details that shows this work must be the original is a carving in the ground layer under Peter's ear. Caravaggio often used such incissions, and they are very uncommon in copies.

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