Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Antonio Balestra (1666 - 1740); Ludovico Dorigny (Paris, France, 6/14/1654 - 10/17/1742, Venice, Italy)


St. Peter Delivered from Prison by an Angel

Creation Date

ca. 1720's


early 18th century


58 in. x 44 in. (147.3 cm. x 111.8 cm.)

Object Type


Creation Place

Europe, Italy

Medium and Support

oil on canvas

Credit Line

Bequest of the Honorable James Bowdoin III


Public Domain

Accession Number

Long attributed to the northern Italian artist Antonio Balestra, this work was recently identified as a painting by Ludovico Dorigny, a Frenchman from a distinguished Parisian artist family who was active in Venice and Verona. As a young man, Dorigny produced works for King Louis XIV and for Cardinal Richelieu. In Italy, he was also a sought-after decorative painter. The Acts of the Apostles relate the story of Peter’s imprisonment by Herod, who at the time persecuted the leadership of the nascent Christian Church. During the night before his public prosecution, an angel appeared to Peter, “and a light shone in the cell, and he … woke him, saying, ‘Get up quickly.’ And the chains fell off his hands.” In his right hand, Peter holds the keys that symbolize the power to bind or loosen souls.

Object Description

St. Peter seated at lower left; angel standing to right grasping Peter's upraised left hand.

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