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Christ's Charge to Peter
  • Date: c. 1616
  • Object Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on oak panel
  • Image size: 139.2 x 114.8 cm
  • Object size: 175.5 x 147.5 x 10 cm
  • Inv: P93
  • Location: not on display
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Further Reading
  • In this altarpiece, Rubens conflates an episode from St John’s Gospel when Christ asked his disciple Peter, “Feed my Sheep”, with the account in St. Matthew’s Gospel of Christ’s promise to present Peter with the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. The subject was rare, although it had been used by Raphael for the Sistine Chapel Tapestries in St Peter’s, Rome.

    The painting was commissioned for the tomb of Nicholas Damant (c.1531–1616) in the church of St Gudule, Brussels. The subject carried particular resonance for Rubens’s client, because Damant’s father, also called Peter, was buried before the same altar. Damant, like St Peter, had distinguished himself as a loyal Catholic servant; both in his role as President of the judiciary body of the Council of Flanders and as an advisor to the Archdukes Albert and Isabella from the end of the sixteenth century. The picture remained in St Gudule in Brussels until sold by the church in 1800. The 4th Marquess of Hertford later acquired the painting at the sale of Willem II of Holland in The Hague in 1850.