St. Paul was a christian hunter before he miraculously converted while road tripping. He was on his way to Damascus , tracking down christians, when God knocked him off his trusty steed. This miracle is commemorated in the Catholic church on January 25th.
"and suddenly a light from heaven shined round about him. And falling on the ground, he heard a voice saying to him: Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? Who said: Who art thou, Lord? And he: I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. " Acts 9: 3-5
The conversion of St. Paul has been a favorite theme for artists to tackle ever since. There are certainly many other paintings of Paul and his adventures, but it's hard to beat the drama of heaven's light lighting up a guy after knocking him off his horse.
About 1767, Nicolas-Bernard Lepicie painted this colorful art of Paul's conversion. Out of all the images in this post, this one has some of the most vibrant colors.
This is an Italian Ferrarese artwork that was painted in the middle of the 16th century. This painting shows Jesus Christ in the clouds speaking to Paul on the ground, though it doesn't display 'a light from heaven' as in the other renditions. The light, instead, remains behind and illuminates the figure of Christ.
Certainly two of the more iconic portrayals, Caravaggio painted both of these around 1600-01. It is said that the first one, the Conversion of St. Paul, was rejected by the man who commissioned it, which is why Caravaggio created a follow-up painting: The Conversion of St. Paul on the Road to Damascus.
This final image is one of the more unusual variations. Dutch painter Karel Dujardin painted this one in the mid 17th century and placed St. Paul right in the middle with his hands on his head. The two most prominent soldiers in the painting stare down at Paul while he listens to the voice of God. We do see the light of heaven in this painting coming from the top left where there's also a cherub angel holding a small torch.
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Last month, I was on a Marian retreat for five days. I wasn't thinking about work at all, but a thought came to me out of the blue to make all our web-quality images free (needless to say, I made a note of the inspiration and then didn't think about it the rest of the retreat. by the way, you should go a Marian retreat someday). I asked the boss about it after the retreat, he said yes, we talked some more about Kansas weather and Irish tin whistles, and here we are.
June 29th is the feastday of the Apostles St. Peter and Paul. The artist Doménikos Theotokópoulos is commonly known as el greco (the Greek). He painted this lovely image of Saint Peter and Paul around the end of the 16th century. You'll notice Paul holding his symbol in art, the sword, and Peter holding his art symbol, the keys of the Catholic Church. The two great Apostles, who are distinctly eyeing the viewer, extend their hands in a manner suggesting they will connect wrists.