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Key facts
Full title Christ appearing to Saint Peter on the Appian Way (Domine, Quo Vadis?)
Artist Annibale Carracci
Artist dates 1560 - 1609
Date made 1601-2
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 77.4 x 56.3 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1826
Inventory number NG9
Location Gallery A: Paintings after 1600
Collection Main Collection
Christ appearing to Saint Peter on the Appian Way
Annibale Carracci
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Saint Peter fled Rome after Christ’s crucifixion, scared that he too would be executed by the Romans; here, he stands in shock as Christ passes him on the road. When Peter asked Christ where he was going – the question in this painting’s title – he replied that he was headed to Rome to be crucified again. Shamed, Peter turned back to face his own martyrdom. The incident is described in the Golden Legend, a thirteenth-century compilation of the lives of the saints.

This private devotional painting was almost certainly commissioned from Annibale Carracci by Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini, whose name-saint was Peter. In spite of the panel’s relatively small dimensions, its effect is highly monumental and the picture is characteristic of Carracci’s late, classical style.

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