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Landscape with the calling of Saint Peter

Attributed to Patenier Joachim

(Bouvignes? 1475-80 - Antwerp 1524)

The painting was first documented as forming part of the Borghese Collection in 1693. Sources and critics have variously attributed it to Joachim Patenier and Herri met des Bles, called Civetta, Flemish artists who specialised in the production of landscapes and historical subjects. The work depicts a landscape with several rugged rocks, which serves as the setting for the well-known New Testament episode of the calling of Peter by Christ, represented in the lower central portion of the panel. Several galleys are visible on the left, together with a small boat with the apostles Andrew, James and John.

Object details

oil on panel
cm 27 x 42

Salvator Rosa, 33 x 175 x 7 cm


Rome, Borghese Collection, 1693 (Inv. 1693, room I, no. 47; Della Pergola 1959); Inventario Fidecommissario 1833, p. 35; purchased by Italian state, 1902.

  • 2000 Namur, Musée des Arts anciens
Conservation and Diagnostic
  • 1903-05 Luigi Bartolucci;
  • 1952 Augusto Vermehren;
  • 2000 Laura Ferretti.


The provenance of this painting is still unknown. It was first documented in connection with the Borghese Collection in 1693, when the inventory of that year described it as ‘another similar work with a sea and country view with boats and groups of small figures, at no. 41, on panel, with a gilded frame, by Civetta’ (Inv. 1693). Although it is missing in the 1790 inventory, both the 1833 Inventario Fidecommissario and Giovanni Piancastelli (1891) listed it as by an ‘anonymous painter’. Adolfo Venturi (1893) was the first to propose the name of the Flemish artist Joachim Patenier. While Roberto Longhi (1928) rejected this attribution in favour of Valckenborch, Paola della Pergola (1959) revived it, although not unconditionally: in the catalogue of paintings of the Galleria Borghese, she pointed to similarities with a drawing attributed to Matthys Cock and wrote cautiously that the work in question was in the ‘style of Patenier’.

On the occasion of an exhibition dedicated to Henri met de Bles in 2000, Luc Serck rightly returned to the name of Civetta (L. Serck 2000): comparing the Borghese panel with the Tempest with the Sacrifice of Jonah in the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples, the scholar proposed that the similar size and subject of the two works indicated that each could have been the pendant of the other. On this basis, he unhesitatingly took up the attribution given in the 1693 inventory. In addition, some details of the Borghese Landscape reappear in other paintings by de Bles, such as the small figures in Oriental dress in the Doria Calvary (Doria Pamphilj Gallery, Rome) and in the Preaching of Saint John the Baptist (Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Dortmund), as well as the similarly depicted galleys in a Saint Christopher that appeared on the English antiques market (Christie’s, London, 6 July 1984, no. 35).

Antonio Iommelli

  • G. Piancastelli, Catalogo dei quadri della Galleria Borghese, in Archivio Galleria Borghese, 1891, p. 466;
  • A. Venturi, Il Museo e la Galleria Borghese, Roma 1893, p. 174;
  • R. Longhi, Precisioni nelle Gallerie Italiane, I, La R. Galleria Borghese, Roma 1928, p. 213;
  • L. van Puyvelde, La Peinture Flamande à Rome, Bruxelles 1950, p. 87;
  • P. della Pergola, La Galleria Borghese. I Dipinti, II, Roma 1959, pp. 180-181, n. 268;
  • P. della Pergola, L’Inventario Borghese del 1693 (I), in “Arte Antica e Moderna”, XXVI, 1964, p. 228;
  • L. Serck, in Autour de Henri Bles, catalogo della mostra (Namur Musée des Arts Anciens du Namurois, 2000), a cura di Société Archéologique de Namur, Namur 2000, p. 210, n. 27;
  • K. Herrmann Fiore, Galleria Borghese Roma scopre un tesoro. Dalla pinacoteca ai depositi un museo che non ha più segreti, San Giuliano Milanese 2006, p. 118.