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There has been in the past, and remains, uncertainty about the subject. It has sometimes been identified as the parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matthew XVIII, 23–35) where a king forgave a servant’s debts, only to find the servant refusing such leniency to a fellow servant. An alternative reading is as an illustration of the story of the Centurion Cornelius (Acts X: 1–8). Cornelius had a vision of an angel, who instructed him to send men to fetch the apostle Peter from Joppa.
oil on canvas
H 176.5 x W 216.2 cm
acquired by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, 1848; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897