(b. 1591, Antwerpen, d. 1651, Antwerpen)

The Denial of St Peter

Oil on canvas, 156 x 227 cm
North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh

After his return to Antwerp from Italy, Seghers became celebrated for his monumental half-length genre scenes. But he was also highly regarded in the 1620s for his large religious and allegoric pictures, conceived in a genre style, and mostly done in landscape format. These paintings, such as the Denial of St Peter, contain scenes with numerous characters, depicted with lively poses and facial expressions, grouped compactly together against an undefined background; they are painted half-length or are cut off by the edge of the painting. The concealed candle-light casts a flickering and sharply contrasting gleam on the multi-coloured, theatrical clothing of the figures.

The early Caravaggist works of Gerard Seghers owe an obvious debt to Gerrit van Honthorst's style. In Rome he practiced the 'manner of Manfredi' so that on his return to Antwerp after 1620 he could apply himself to painting half-length pictures of realistic scenes in strong chiaroscuro contrast of soldiers, musicians and suchlike.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.