St. Peter

Stefano da Putignano's sculpture of St. Peter is in a stone niche, also by his hand. St. Peter is shown seated, which has led scholars to suggest that it was based on the bronze statue of St. Peter by Arnolfo di Cambio, located in St. Peter's Basilica (which Stefano could have perhaps seen if he went on pilgrimage to Rome). The stiff frontality of the Stefano's figure is similar, even though his work was made 200 years later. The archaism here suggests the regal dignity of Peter and evokes time-worn authority. Unlike Arnolfo, however, Putignano shows St. Peter holding a book open to a passage from his first letter (ch. V: 8-9) in his left hand, and the two keys given to him by Christ in his right hand. The stylized rendering of the folds of his tunic and swirls of his beard are typical of Stefano da Putignano's work. The wrinkled face with its direct gaze and gnarled hands have nevertheless a startling naturalism. The later wooden throne was removed in the restoration undertaken in 2000-2004, which made the inscription on the base more legible, though the interpretation is still debated. Along with the date, 1502, the inscription presumably identifies the patron of the work, Vito Fanelli De Venera, likely a local man, as the names Fanelli and De Venera are both common in Putignano. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
External DOI