“Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant girl approached him and said, «You were with Jesus the Galilean too. » But he denied it in front of everyone: «I don’t know what you’re talking about. » Except for the fact that the scene is not set in the open air, the moment described by the painter is precisely when the Apostle is recognised by a woman, who accuses him of being an accomplice of Jesus. In this painting by the Flemish artist Gerard Seghers, the most typical representation of the Manfredian Methodus narrating a biblical episode is staged. The painter, a former member of the Compagnia di San Luca in Antwerp, arrived in Rome around 1613, where he came into contact with Caravaggio’s painting and more directly with one of the closest admirers of Merisi’s work, Bartolomeo Manfredi. Seghers greatly appreciated the innovations made by the Caravaggesque painters in the field of composition and luminosity, to the extent that he made them his own and combined them with Flemish expertise in the rendering of details such as the clothes. The softening of the tones in his palette is probably due to the influence of Rubens after his return to his native Antwerp. Compared to the works of his early Roman period, characterized by cold colours and very intense light contrasts, here, the painting appears much warmer and more intimate.
Bibl.: D. Bodart, A. Moir, A. E. Perez Sanchez, P. Rosenberg, Caravaggisti, Firenze, Art e dossier Giunti, 1996.