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Christ's Charge to St. Peter

Christ's Charge to St. Peter

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Bernardo Strozzi

Bernardo Strozzi lived and worked in his native city of Genoa until 1630, when he moved to Venice for his final years and most important work. In Venice, his painting was strongly affected by the work of the great Venetian painters of the sixteenth century—Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto. Strozzi's style is characterized by rich, warm colors and broad, energetic brushstrokes through which different textures are conveyed, from the deep red crushed velvet of Christ’s robe to the rough green cloth of St. Peter’s garment. The artist’s use of dramatic lighting and close-up composition, his juxtaposition of opposites—the idealized youthful head of Christ in contrast to the ruddy and age-worn faces of the apostles—contribute to the heightened dramatic moment depicted. In Genoa, Strozzi would have seen the works of the great Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens, whose depiction of dramatic action and emotional experience embodies the high Baroque. The subject of this painting, Christ handing over the keys of heaven to St. Peter, is based on a passage in the New Testament from the gospel of Matthew (16:18-19) in which Christ addresses the apostle Peter: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church … And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.”
Bernardo Strozzi
(Italian, 1581 - 1644)
Christ's Charge to St. Peter
ca. 1635-1637
Oil on canvas
52 1/4 x 39 3/4 in. Overall
John and Carolyn Peterson Trust purchase
Accession No.


Palazzo Labia? (Venice, Italy); J.F. Tuffen; 2 April 1982, sold by Christie''s [lot 52]; Sir William Elford; ca. 1912-1921, Mr. Wray purchased in Holderness, Yorkshire; until ca. 1950, Mrs. Wray gave to Emmanuel Church (Bridlington, England); 1993, sold by Leger Gallery (London, England) to to the Elvehjem Museum of Art [now called Chazen Museum of Art]

  • "SchoolsMusuemsART (SMART) Project." Madison, WI: Madison Metropolitan School District, 2002.
  • Geiger, Gail. "Partial Clues to a Mystery: The Elvehjem's Bernardo Strozzi." Elvehjem Museum of Art Bulletin, 1995-1997. Elvehjem Museum of Art (1997): 25-28. pp. 25-28
  • Lukehart, Peter M. "A Paradoxical Priest: Bernardo Strozzi." Elvehjem Museum of Art Bulletin 1995-1997. Elvehjem Museum of Art (1997): 7-24. pp. 7-24
  • Genoa, Palazzo Ducale. "Bernardo Strozzi, Genova 1581/82- Venezia 1644." Exhibition catalogue/ Genoa, Palazzo Ducale, 6 May-6 August, 1995. Milan: Electa, 1995. p. 218, no. 60
  • University of Wisconsin Foundation. "The Campaign for Wisconsin & 1993 Annual Report." 1993. p. 14
  • Elvehjem Museum of Art. "Bulletin/Biennial Report 1995-1997." Madison: Elvehjem Museum of Art, 1998. p. 160
  • Elvehjem Museum of Art. "Bulletin/Annual Report 1993-1995." Madison: Elvehjem Museum of Art, 1995. p. 101
  • Chazen Museum of Art. "Artscene." July-December 2012. p. 9
  • Elvehjem Museum of Art. "Artscene." Vol. 9, No. 5, November/ December 1993. p. 1
  • Elvehjem Museum of Art. "Artscene." Vol. 12, No. 1, Winter 1995-1996. p. 6
  • Orlando, Anna and Daniele Sanguineti. "Bernardo Strozzi 1582-1644: La conquista del colore." Genoa: Sagep Editori, 2019. p. 329, fig. 6

  • Bernardo Strozzi: Master Painter of the Italian Baroque: Walters Art Gallery, 9/8/1995–11/30/1995
  • Bernardo Strozzi, Genova 1581/82- Venezia 1644: Palazzo Ducale, 5/6/1995–8/6/1995

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