Pietro Perugino: The Handing of the Keys to St Peter painting.
The origins and role of the Papacy is a subject covered all too infrequently in catechesis. Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to England proved a stimulus for much debate over the Petrine Office and speaking ‘heart to heart’ the Holy Father demonstrated that this humble Vicar of Christ has much to teach all sections of society, believers and non believers alike. In the Sistine Chapel the fresco ‘the handing of the keys to St Peter’ was painted and through this masterpiece we can come to a better understanding of the origin and role of the Petrine Office.
Pietro di Cristoforo Vannuncci, better known as Pietro Perugino (1450-1523), was an Umbrian painter of the High Renaissance who realised the exceptional fresco entitled The Handing of the Keys to St Peter between 1481/2 in the Sistine Chapel, Vatican City, Rome. The fresco forms part of a series of mural decorations that gave the Sistine Chapel its original appearance. The frescoes, realised on the lateral walls of the Chapel, depict the story of salvation through the events in the Old Testament relating to the life of Moses and on the opposite wall the New Testament showing the major events in Christ’s life.