Navarrete completed this work of St Peter and St Paul around the year 1577. It depicts the two greatest Apostles of Christ engaged in conversation. Both stand dignified, larger than life, taking up central importance in the composition. 

On the left is St Peter, with short, curly hair and a short beard shown with the traditional keys of heaven in his left hand. In the Bible (Matthew 16:18) Christ says “That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” On the strength of this verse, Peter’s seat in Rome was regarded as supreme among all other patriarchates, thus furnishing the Church of Rome with its claim of papal primacy.  But despite this doctrine, Peter’s character in the Bible is lively: he declared that Jesus was the Messiah but also denied him three times and bitterly regretted it. 

On the right is St Paul, who is depicted with a long, black beard. He is depicted holding a sword, the one with which he was beheaded according to tradition: a symbol of his martyrdom. If Peter furnishes the archetype of Pope, Paul is the archetype of a zealous organizing theologian. Their harmony and companionship are integral to the ideal unity of the Church, which had been broken first by the schism with Orthodoxy in the eleventh century and second by Protestantism in the sixteenth century. Both of the Apostles are seen looking eye-to-eye, holding the books that unify them.

In this work Navarrete has created both a sense of movement and stillness: though the Apostles are walking and advancing toward the viewer, it is as though they are frozen in time and space. Both men stand with an outturned right foot, on the verge of taking the next step, but appear so involved in conversation that they are paused, as if in a moment of contemplation and reflection. It is also interesting to note Navarrete’s use of perspective and dimension: both men have small heads in comparison to the size of their bodies. As a result, the bodies look bulky and dominate the composition, as if representing of the might of the church.