A series of architectural spaces unfold, each showing figures engaged in some activity. At right, the largest figure is shown seated looking upwards towards a light source. The same figure, somewhat smaller, walks from right to left towards a small architectural space at the left where the same figure lays a hand on the head of a kneeling woman. Other scenes continue into the distance.
The artist used sequential depictions of St. Peter to portray several scenes of baptism and other events during his time in Jerusalem. The architectural divisions of the space create discrete episodes of baptism and conversion.
Gallery Rotation Spring 2013
Maarten van Heemskerck
St. Peter Baptizing at Jerusalem
Pen and brown ink on cream paper
Museum purchase, 1965/1.158
This preparatory drawing is one of many that the Dutch portraitist and religious painter Maarten van Heemskerck worked on for the edition of the Acta Apostolorum (The Acts of the Apostles) engraved by C. J. Visscher and published by Philip Galle in 1575. The draftsmanship is characterized by cross-hatching and stippling, which suggest that the drawing was designed from the outset specifically to aid the engravers and to be reproduced commercially.
The inventive architectural spaces in the drawing demarcate individual episodes and encourage a sequential reading of events. St. Peter appears multiple times in a series of scenes that narrate moments from his life described in the New Testament. To the right, he is shown in his study in an encounter with the divine that prompted him to set out on his mission of conversion. The cropped wall reveals the scene unfolding inside and helps to set this moment of the narrative apart. In the middle a smaller figure of Peter sets off on his mission, while to the left two conversions take place within rooms that lack exterior walls, making them more like stages on which the action unfolds.
Inscribed in ink, l.l.: Martyn v. heemskerck / inventor Bottom center: 1573
In 1713, the highly sought-after Venetian history painter Antonio Pellegrini and his wife were invited by the Elector Palatine Johann Wilhem von der Pfalz to stay at Schloss Benberg, the country seat of Düsseldorf. During his residence (1713–1714), the Elector Palatine commissioned Pellegrini to furnish the decoration for the North staircase in addition to many of the ceilings on the main floor of the castle. Before such large-scale ceiling paintings could be carried out, however, artists customarily provided patrons with a painted model, such as this oil sketch depicting a grand imperial ceremony. "The Elector Palatine Johann Wilhelm von der Pfalz being offered the Crown of Armenia" was intended for the decoration of the audience chamber, as a pendant or companion piece to the "Marriage of Johann Wilhelm and Maria Anna Josefa of Austria" by Antonia Bellucci. Both works, as their titles attest, would have functioned to reaffirm the Elector Palatine’s imperial connections.
(C. McNamara, 18th-19th Century Gallery installation, early 1999)
Luca Giordano was one of the greatest artists of the Baroque period in Naples. He produced an enormous number of religious and secular paintings as well as fresco cycles in palaces and churches. An artist of international stature, he worked in Naples, Venice, Florence, and Madrid, creating dramatic compositions full of color and light.
This drawing comes from late in Giordano’s career, during his sojourn in Madrid from 1692 to 1700. During the last few years of his stay he frescoed the choir of S. Antonio de los Portugueses with scenes from the Life of St. Anthony of Padua (1195-1231). This saint was born in Lisbon, Portugal and died in Padua, and became the patron saint of that north Italian city. A Franciscan monk, he performed many miracles including reattaching the severed leg of a young man. The Museum’s drawing shows the climactic moment of healing, and is typical of Giordano’s late compositional studies, which work out the artist’s ideas using simplified shapes which convey a story through figural poses and gestures
Titled and dated along bottom edge A second sketch in upper r. corner is inscribed: Bit of Frieze / The fine members of ---- / are carved so delicately as/ to be almost lost to view from/ below - Like drawing it is more than sculpture