Conversion on the Way to Damascus (Caravaggio) - Framed Print
Conversion on the Way to Damascus (Caravaggio) - Framed Print

Conversion on the Way to Damascus (Caravaggio) - Framed Print

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The conversion of Paul from persecutor to apostle is a well-known biblical story. According to the New Testament, Saul of Tarsus was a zealous Pharisee, who intensely persecuted the followers of Jesus, even participating in the stoning of Stephen. He was on his way from Jerusalem to Damascus to arrest the Christians of the city.

As he went he drew near Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?" He said, “Who are You, Lord?” The Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”[10]

The painting depicts this moment recounted in the Acts of the Apostles, except Caravaggio has Saul falling off a horse (which is not mentioned in the story) on the road to Damascus, seeing a blinding light and hearing the voice of Jesus. For Saul this is a moment of intense religious ecstasy: he is lying on the ground, supine, eyes shut, with his legs spread and his arms raised upward as if embracing his vision. The saint is a muscular young man, and his garment looks like a Renaissance version of a Roman soldier's attire: orange and green muscle cuirass, pteruges, tunic and boots. His plumed helmet fell off his head and his sword is lying by his side. The red cape almost looks like a blanket under his body. The horse is passing over him led by an old groom, who points his finger at the ground. He had calmed down the animal, and now prevents it treading upon Saul. The huge steed has a mottled brown and cream coat; it is still foaming at the mouth, and its hoof is hanging in the air.

The scene is lit by a strong light but the three figures are engulfed by an almost impenetrable darkness. A few faint rays on the right evoke Jesus' epiphany but these are not the real source of the lighting, and the groom remains seemingly oblivious to the presence of the divine. Because the skewbald horse is unsaddled, it is suggested that the scene takes place in a stable instead of an open landscape.[11]

This painting has helped form the myth of Paul being on a horse although the text does not mention a horse at all. Rather in Acts 9:8 it says that afterwards "Saul got up from the ground and opened his eyes, but could not see a thing. So they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus."

• Ayous wood .75″ (1.9 cm) thick frame from renewable forests
• Paper thickness: 10.3 mil (0.26 mm)
• Paper weight: 189 g/m²
• Lightweight
• Acrylite front protector
• Hanging hardware included
• Blank product components in the US sourced from Japan and the US
• Blank product components in the EU sourced from Japan and Latvia

This product is made especially for you as soon as you place an order, which is why it takes us a bit longer to deliver it to you. Making products on demand instead of in bulk helps reduce overproduction, so thank you for making thoughtful purchasing decisions!