The Death of Saint Peter Martyr, 1739

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Saint Peter Martyr, also known as Peter of Verona (1206-1252), was a Dominican friar known for his resolute faith and skill in converting others to Christianity. In particular, Peter's success in converting members of the Cathars, an anti-Rome sect whose followers had been violently targeted by the Pope, made Peter a target of reprisal. On Easter Saturday 1252, after celebrating mass, Peter set out on foot for Milan. One his return to Verona, he was attacked by two assassins, who struck him in the head with an ax and killed his traveling companion. Peter fell to the ground, and with his fingers dipped in his own blood, professed his faith by writing out the first words of the Nicene Creed, Credo in Unum Deum. As Peter pointed toward the sky, his murderer cut off the top half of his head with a sword.

John Baptist Jackson trained in London and Paris and was active in Venice in the mid-18th century, where he produced this color-printed chiaroscuro woodcut from four blocks, each designed to print a separate color. The woodcut is based directly on the lost altarpiece by Titain for the church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, Venice.

The Death of Saint Peter Martyr
Artist Life
(Venice), 1488/90–1576
Accession Number
(Kennedy Galleries, New York); sold to MIA, 1969.
Catalogue Raisonne
Kainen 16
Curator Approved

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