Saint Andrew’s Church
The statue of Saint Peter
White marble statue, funeral monument for Peter Saboth, by Artus I Quellinus, 1658
Baroque art is often synonymous of theatricality. Here however, the work of art is subdued and serene. It was commissioned as a memorial monument, fitting in the project of decorating each nave column with a statue of an apostle. However, as a result of a lack of interest from the well-off parishioners Peter was left to stand alone on a high plinth and afterwards it was taken down.
The rooster at Peter’s feet reminds of Jesus’s prediction before being taken prisoner: “(…) this night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times” (Mth 26:34). So it happened and immediately after the cock had crowed and he had sworn he did not know Jesus “Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken,” was filled with remorse and “began to weep bitterly” (Mth 26:75). This can also be read in the Latin chronogram on the plinth: “Petro, reCorDantI VerbI, et aMare fLentI”. Peter is intensely conscience-stricken. In the statue we recognize his sorrow and the tough conscience struggle: in order to save oneself man is prepared to let down even his best friends. Self-preservation versus friendship: the endless struggle! Ultimately, out of love for Jesus, Peter is prepared to die on the cross himself. To make this clear the apostle embraces the inverted cross, mentioned in his legend.