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Carlo Crivelli, Saints Peter and Paul

Key facts
Full title Saints Peter and Paul
Artist Carlo Crivelli
Artist dates about 1430/5 - about 1494
Date made probably 1470s
Medium and support Tempera on poplar
Dimensions 93.3 × 47 cm
Acquisition credit Mond Bequest, 1924
Inventory number NG3923
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Saints Peter and Paul
Carlo Crivelli

Two saints, Peter and Paul, are deep in conversation over an open book, one pointing out a particular passage to the other. This painting comes from a polyptych – an altarpiece made of a number of panels – painted for the high altar of parish church of Porto Saint Georgio, the harbour of the city of Fermo on the east coast of Italy. Peter and Paul were traditionally shown together in medieval art, symbolising the Catholic Church.

Crivelli was renowned for his highly individual style and way of handling materials to create a three-dimensional effect. Here we can see how he emphasised important parts of the painting: the haloes, Peter’s keys, Paul’s sword and the brass furnishings of the books have been built up in layers of gesso (the white mineral gypsum) so that they stand out from the flat surface.

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