Friday, January 25, 2013

Conversion of Saint Paul

Caravaggio - Conversion of St Paul
The conversion of Saint Paul was an important milestone in the history of Christianity. Paul was not one of the original 12 apostles, but is considered as the Apostle of the Gentiles, because after his conversion on the way to Damascus, Paul embarked on 4 missionary voyages, preaching, at times challenging the people to change their lives, admonitions that are recorded in many of his letters. 

These two paintings of Caravaggio show the scene of his conversion, with Saint Paul on the ground after he was overpowered with the light that eventually blinded him for a few weeks, until he was healed by Ananias. The chiaroscuro that Caravaggio uses in many of his paintings is prevalent here, even though the scene was supposed to have been highlighted with the light from heaven. Still the artist wanted to show the darkness in which St Paul was engulfed at that time, darkness caused by the lack of faith, his hatred of Christians, feelings that would soon change, thanks to this momentous conversion of this great Apostle.

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