Monday, August 31, 2009

Christ Giving the Keys to St Peter

Title: Christ Giving the Keys to St Peter

Artist: Lorenzo Veneziano

Medium: Panel

Size: 90 x 60 cm

Date: 1369

Location: Museo Correr, Venice.

In Matthew 16:15-19 when the disciple Simon Peter states that Jesus is the Messiah, and the Son of the living God, Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

Lorenzo Veneziano fulfilled countless commissions in Venice and its vicinity that display a style that is a handsome fusion of Byzantine and later pictorial currents. His commissions included an altarpiece which was later dismembered, and its side panels unfortunately destroyed in Berlin in 1945. But the central panel depicting Christ Giving the Keys to St Peter survived and is now considered a masterpiece in its own right. His rich, elegant painting is characterized by brilliantly clear color, the sculpture-like form of his figures, and the expressiveness of their faces. He accentuated the sense of space and added a fresh dimension to the elongated style of Byzantine figures.

Lorenzo Veneziano was an Italian painter active 1356-1372 in Venice. We have little written evidence for the life of Veneziano, who was one of the most important figures in late-fourteenth-century Venice, but many of his surviving works are dated. It is likely that he worked in the workshop of Paolo Veneziano in the early 1350s and he also worked at Verona, Vicenza, and Bologna, where he executed the Lion Triptych (1357-59) for the Sant'Antonio Abate church (now in the Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice).

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