The Conversion on the Way to Damascus

This painting, by Caravaggio, is a piece that depicts the Baroque style of the 17th century. It is located in the Cerasi Chapel of the church of Santa Maria Del Popolo, in Rome. This painting is conveying the story of Saul, a man who used to persecute the Catholics and torture them. As this man was on his way to Damascus, Jesus himself talked to him from the sky and asked him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” This caused Saul to convert and he later became an apostle. This is shown by his fallen state under the horse and his eyes closed from the shock and he bright light of Jesus. This story that is being told by the painting is directly from the bible. There are many aspects that show that this painting is from the Baroque era.

Firstly, the Baroque era focused on religious and biblical concepts, not the actual proportions of the painting. The horse in the picture is very out of proportion, and looks like something you wouldn’t find in the paintings of the High Renaissance. It is scrunched up and hemmed in. Another aspect is the use of dramatization. Saul’s hands are thrown in the air and to add to this, the use of colors add more dramatic affect. Paul is seen as the main subject with the use of light and shadow. By the placement of Saul under the horse, it is a symbol for the fact that he is now humbled under the horse and no longer on the top which signifies arrogance.

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