Raphael 1483 – 1520

Christ's Charge to Peter

bodycolour on paper on canvas (340 × 530 cm) — 1515-1516 Museum Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Raphael biography

This work is linked to John 21:17

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Raphael here combines the two New Testament passages on which the catholic church bases its authority. In Matthew 16:18-19 Peter is given the keys to the kingdom of heaven. In John 21:15-17 Jesus orders Peter three times to feed the sheep - making it obvious that he actually charges Peter to take care of the believers.

The work is also known as The Handing-over the Keys.

Pope Leo X commissioned Raphael for this tapestry design. The tapestry was made in the workshop of the weaver Pieter van Aelst. It now is in the Vatican Museums. The cartons (sheets of paper) are in the British Royal Collection.

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