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The picture illustrates the deliverance of Saint Peter, who had been arrested and thrown into prison on the orders of Herod, King of Judaea (Acts, XII, 4–11). Teniers makes the scene more immediate by situating the story in his own time, thus forcing the viewer to draw a parallel between past and contemporary behaviour. In the foreground, the four soldiers set to guard Peter gamble, while two peasants warm themselves by a fire.
oil on copper
H 36 x W 49.6 cm
acquired by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, 1843; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897