NOGARI, Giuseppe
(b. 1699, Venezia, d. 1766, Venezia)

Peter the Apostle

1743
Oil on canvas, 85 x 61 cm
Gemäldegalerie, Dresden

Nogari lived his whole life in Venice and in 1756 became a member of the Accademia di Pittura e Scultura. From the 1730s he became widely known among collectors north of the Alps for his allegorical and religious portraits done as half-length and head studies. He also painted a number of altarpieces in his native city.

The present work shows Peter as the bringer of God's word. His right hand points to the Bible, while his gaze is directed in the diametrically opposite direction to the light entering from the upper left, which embodies the source of divine inspiration. The apostle holds a key of bronze and one of gold, thus underlining his authority as the 'rock' upon which Christ will build his church (Matthew XVI, 18).

Peter died a martyr's death at a great age. Nogari emphasises the apostle's age in his picture, skilfully revealing his elderly body. Peter's right shoulder, his face, worked in thick paint, and his wispy grey hair are placed most fully in the light and stand out boldly from the dark, diffuse background.