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Artist: Dujardin, Karel 1 of 1

Denial of Peter, c. 1663

Karel Dujardin

Dutch, 1622-1678
Oil on canvas
47 x 41 in. (119.4 x 104.1 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
M.1975.16.P
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

In the early morning hours following Christ’s arrest, Peter waited outside the house of the high priest Caiaphas, where Jesus stood trial. Three times Peter was identified as Jesus’ companion, and three times the apostle denied it. Here Dujardin focuses sharply on Peter and the maid who recognizes him, suggesting that this is the second denial, as described in Matthew 26:71–72: “and again [Peter] denied it with an oath.” The apostle’s testimony is emphasized by the placement of his hand over his heart. The moment’s high tension is conveyed by the maid’s accusatory look and gesture, Peter’s defensive response and the off-center placement of both figures. Dujardin’s use of strong chiaroscuro and a close-up presentation of unidealized figures suggests his familiarity with the Caravaggesque tendencies in Dutch Baroque art. Finely painted details, such as the maid’s white sleeve, and the smooth facture throughout, however, demonstrate Dujardin’s affiliation with Dutch classicism. Though he was primarily known as an accomplished landscape painter, the artist also painted a range of subjects drawn from history and the Bible, as well as portraits of Amsterdam’s elites. He enjoyed considerable success during his career.

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Artist: Dujardin, Karel 1 of 1