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Creator:
Hendrick van Steenwyck the Younger, ca. 1580–1649, Flemish, active in Britain from 1617
Title:

The Liberation of St Peter

Date:
1617
Medium:
Oil on copper
Dimensions:
13 3/4 × 16 1/8 inches (34.9 × 41 cm)
Inscription(s)/Marks/Lettering:

signed and dated on the wall, beneath the candle, center left: "H.V.S / 1617"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
B2017.2
Classification:
Paintings
Collection:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
angel | apostle | miracle | New Testament | religious and mythological subject
Associated People:
Peter, the Apostle, St. (ca. 1 BC - ca. 68 AD)
Access:
Not on view
Link:
https://collections.britishart.yale.edu/catalog/tms:73483
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This painting depicts an episode from the Acts of the Apostles (12:3–19) when St. Peter, imprisoned by Herod Agrippa in Jerusalem, was miraculously freed by an angel. The tiny figure of St. Peter can just be seen making his escape in the background, eluding the sleeping guards. This story provided Hendrick van Steenwyck with the opportunity to depict complex architectural forms dramatically illuminated by candle and firelight; in this case an imagined prison with a repeating groin-vaulted ceiling. The Liberation of St Peter was Steenwyck’s most popular subject, and the artist made over seventy versions for connoisseurs connected to the court of James I. This picture is dated 1617, the year that Steenwyck arrived in London from the Netherlands. He soon established his reputation and was one of the first artists in Britain to sustain a career making works of art in genres other than portraiture.

Gallery label for A Decade of Gifts and Acquisitions (Yale Center for British Art, 2017-06-01 - 2017-08-13)



This painting depicts an episode from the Acts of the Apostles (Ch. 12, v. 3-19,) when St Peter, imprisoned by Herod Agrippa in Jerusalem, was miraculously freed by an angel. Peter can be seen making his escape in the background, eluding the guards who sleep in the foreground. This story provided Steenwyck with the opportunity to depict complex architectural forms; in this case an imagined prison with a repeating groin-vaulted ceiling, dramatically illuminated by candle and firelight. The Liberation of St Peter was Steenwyck’s most popular subject, and the artist made over seventy versions for connoisseurs connected to the court of James I. This picture is dated 1617, the year that Steenwyck arrived in London from the Netherlands. He soon established his reputation and was one of the first artists in Britain to sustain a career making works of art in genres other than portraiture.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Captive Bodies: British Prisons, 1750-1900 (Yale Center for British Art, 2018-08-27 - 2018-12-17) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]


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