Saint Peter as Pope

French (Lorraine?)
Medieval (Gothic)
third quarter of 14th century
Unidentified artist

Object Place: Europe, France


Overall: 152.5 x 47 x 40.6cm (60 1/16 x 18 1/2 x 16in.) Mount (wooden pallet /UHMW pad ): 10.2 x 61 x 68.6 cm (4 x 24 x 27 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Stone; limestone, intrasparite, with traces of polychromy

On View

Museum Council Gallery (Gallery 254)





St. Peter was considered the first Pope because of Christ’s charge to him: “Thou are Peter and on you I found my church”. Peter is shown here in papal ceremonial dress, with the triple-crowned tiara signifying his spiritual and temporal authority. This crown and the clasp of his stole, or cope, would have originally been encrusted with jewels. St. Peter blesses with his right hand, and would once have held keys in his left hand, recalling that Christ gave him “the keys to the kingdom of heaven.” This imposing sculpture would have asserted papal authority and primacy by making clear the connections between St. Peter and the Pope.


1945, Demotte, New York; October 26, 1945, sold by Demotte to the Brummer Gallery, New York (stock no. N6467); 1948, sold by the Brummer Gallery to the MFA for $7000. (Accession Date: March 11, 1948)

Credit Line

1948 Purchase Fund