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The Liberation of St. Peter, 1618

Hendrick van Steenwijck the Younger

Dutch, 1580-c.1648
Oil on panel
20-1/2 x 25-3/4 in. (52.1 x 65.4 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation, Gift of Mr. Norton Simon
M.1979.58.P
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

Hendrick van Steenwijck was known by his contemporaries as a painter of architectural motifs. Gothic church interiors, palace terraces and prison interiors formed the subjects of much of his work. The dimly lit, vaulted prison interior with deep perspectival space and sleeping guards is completely characteristic of paintings by Steenwijck, who used geometry and mathematical formulas in his compositions. St. Peter’s liberation by the angel after being imprisoned by King Herod is just one of several focal points in the composition. Steenwijck painted more than 25 versions of this subject, each of them slightly different from the others.

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