An article on Aleteia, written by Elizabeth Lev, explains the role art played in promoting the Sacrament of Penance during the Protestant Reformation. It specifically examines the importance of clergy participating in the Sacrament. When looking at Guido Reni’s Penitent Peter, Lev writes,
His face turns upwards towards the source of light, hopeful in forgiveness as tears well up in his eyes and fall down his cheek. This intimate portrait of repentance put forward a model of contrition that could speak persuasively to the proud world of Roman clerics.
While, I’ve seen this painting before, the historical context now adds considerable depth. I understand more clearly the purpose behind the paintbrush. I don’t just see the “what” but the “why.”
What do you see?