The First Denial of Saint Peter (Premier reniement de Saint Pierre )
When warned by Jesus that he would deny him three times before the cock crowed—before the dawn—Peter vehemently objected, asserting his fidelity and pledging to die alongside Jesus.
However, the prophecy is realized. Peter first denies his status as a disciple to the maidservant who points an accusatory finger at him while guarding the door to the chief priest’s chamber. Later, admitted to the priest’s rooms, where he warms himself by the fire, Peter again rejects the association when asked a second time; his hands are raised in protest as all await his response.
Finally, questioned a third time, Peter again denies knowing Jesus, just as the cock crows. Betrayed by his disciple, as he had foretold, Jesus in this image looks in Peter’s direction with sadness, as he is escorted away by a jeering crowd. Peter hides from view behind a thick stone archway, his arm covering his face.
Eager to provide insight into the precise timing of the events as they unfolded, Tissot in his commentary refers to his experiences of the Middle East and suggests that the rooster’s third crowing must have occurred at around three in the morning.
Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
image: 10 1/2 x 7 1/16 in. (26.7 x 17.9 cm)
sheet: 10 1/2 x 7 1/16 in. (26.7 x 17.9 cm)
frame: 20 x 15 x 1 1/2 in. (50.8 x 38.1 x 3.8 cm) (show scale)
Signed bottom right: "J.J. Tissot"
Purchased by public subscription
1900, purchased from the artist by the Brooklyn Museum.
This item is not on view
James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). The First Denial of Saint Peter (Premier reniement de Saint Pierre ), 1886-1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, image: 10 1/2 x 7 1/16 in. (26.7 x 17.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.245 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 00.159.245_PS2.jpg)
overall, 00.159.245_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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