Skip to main content

Carlo Crivelli, Saint Peter

Key facts
Full title Saint Peter
Artist Carlo Crivelli
Artist dates about 1430/5 - about 1494
Group The Demidoff Altarpiece
Date made 1476
Medium and support Tempera on lime
Dimensions 139 × 40.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bought, 1868
Inventory number NG788.3
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Saint Peter
Carlo Crivelli

This stern and commanding figure is Saint Peter, the first pope and one of the founders of the Catholic Church. He comes from a polyptych (a multi-panelled altarpiece) which Crivelli painted for the high altar of the church of San Domenico, in Ascoli Piceno in the Italian Marche. His hooded eyes gaze intently out at us, while his greying beard, tanned face and deeply lined features, painted with Crivelli’s customary exactness, suggest a life of toil in the open air: Peter was a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee before being called by Christ to join him.

Peter stands on a marble shelf, like a statue, in front of a background of burnished gold which is tooled – patterned with special tools – to look like damask. In a detail typical of Crivelli, his right shoe pokes out over the edge of the marble parapet – as if asking us to kiss his foot, as those admitted to audience with a pope would have done.

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo

The Demidoff Altarpiece


Crivelli painted two altarpieces for the small church of San Domenico, in the town of Ascoli Piceno in the Italian Marche. Their history is complex and intertwined. A large, double-tiered polyptych (a multi-panelled altarpiece) sat on the high altar, while a smaller altarpiece was in a side chapel.

In the nineteenth century parts of both altarpieces were sold to a Russian prince, Anatole Demidoff, who mounted them in a grand frame to make a three-tiered altarpiece for the chapel of his villa in Florence. The whole complex is now known as the Demidoff Altarpiece.

The National Gallery bought the Demidoff Altarpiece in 1868, and in 1961 the panels from the smaller polyptych were removed. They are now displayed separately.