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The Death of Saint Peter Martyr
Probably by Bernardino da Asola
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The Dominican friar and Inquisitor Pietro da Verona was killed in a wood by perceived heretics on 6 April 1252. Here he reaches towards a burst of heavenly light, accepting his murder for the cause of Christ. Cherubs prepare to descend from the clouds with Pietro’s martyr’s palm, while in the woods another assailant attacks his companion. The murderous events are at odds with the peaceful landscape – peasants load firewood onto their mule while others herd cattle, oblivious to the nearby crisis.

The painting is strongly influenced by Venetian depictions of this subject. The horizontal format and the setting recall at least two versions of the subject by Giovanni Bellini and his workshop. The pose of the assassin and Saint Peter Martyr (in reverse) are related to Titian’s destroyed altarpiece of 1525–30 for the church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, Venice. The landscape is similar to other paintings attributed to Bernardino da Asola.

Key facts
Artist Probably by Bernardino da Asola
Artist dates active about 1525 - 50
Full title The Death of Saint Peter Martyr
Date made 1540s
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 101.5 x 144.8 cm
Acquisition credit Holwell Carr Bequest, 1831
Inventory number NG41
Location in Gallery Not on display
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