- Reference number
- Zurbarán, Francisco de (Spanish)
- The Apostle Saint Peter appearing to Saint Peter Nolasco
- 179 cm x 223 cm
- On display
- Colección Real (Convento de la Merced Calzada, Sevilla, claustro de los bojes; deán Manuel López Cepero, Sevilla, h. 1805).
The Apostle Saint Peter appears to Saint Peter Nolasco to console him for not being able to travel to Rome and visit his tomb, and to council him to continue his apostolic work in Spain. This is one of the most important episodes in the life of the founder of the Order of la Merced Calzada, for whose convent in Seville Zurbarán painted a broad series of canvases, including Saint Peter Nolasco's Vision (P01236).
Born in France, this saint fled the heretics of Albi, moving to Spain, where he defended Christians held prisoner by the Muslims that occupied the Peninsula. He founded the Order of la Merced, and personally paid for the freedom of slaves.
These works are from the painter's first period. They reveal the ease with which he made straightforward compositions focusing on a study of the characters' expressions, the reproduction of the textures of the textiles, and the play of an infinite range of whites and greys. The present work is signed and dated in the middle of the lower area beside the saint's habit.
In 1821, Dean López Cepero ceded this work to King Fernando VII (1784-1833), who sent it to the Prado Museum.