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Conversion of the Apostle Paul - Michelangelo Buonarroti. 625x661
Here Michelangelo depicted the scene of the conversion of St. Paul. The New Testament tells how a Jew Saul, the persecutor of Christians, went in search of them to bring them to Jerusalem and to punish them there. For three days, Saul was blind and healed according to the word of God by His disciple, after which he was baptized and soon became the apostle Paul.
Michelangelo depicted the moment when the Lord sheds sows on His future follower, and he, blinded, falls from the horse to the ground. The earth, as if seen by the artist from above, looks reared, in addition, its surface tilts slightly to the left, and it seems that the main character continues to fall. But at the same time, a desperate gesture of an upraised hand hints that Saul is ready to rise and go to a new life. The people around him are scared, someone runs away, someone closes with a shield from the blinding heavenly radiance, someone restrains a horse standing on its hind legs, someone rushes to the fallen one. At the same time, everything here seemed to freeze - it happens when a bright flash of light snatches a picture out of the darkness. The combination of dynamics and static introduces special stress into the depicted. Some figures, for example, located below, are cut off by the edge of the fresco, and it seems as if what is happening continues beyond. In addition, Michelangelo introduces into the composition a landscape seen from heaven, which gives the scene a cosmic scale.
The Fresco Conversion of Saul is one of Michelangelo's last paintings. By order of Pope Paul the Third, the great Renaissance master adorned the Apostolic Palace Chapel Paolin in the Vatican, after which Michelangelo finally left the painting, delving into architectural designs.
The multi-figure fresco is expressive and powerful. The main character of the work is Saul. This is a famous hater and persecutor of Christians. The merciless leader assembled a formidable detachment to permanently expel the righteous from his land. The lower part of the mural just reflects the soldier of Saul. The leader himself is knocked out of the saddle and lies on the ground. Subjugated, he turned his eyes upward, for from there Saul heard the voice of Jesus.
Anger burns the gaze of God the Son, who knew how Saul mercilessly dealt with the Christians. But Jesus makes it possible for the unit to flee. The viewer sees people running from the squad, looking around in bewilderment. Someone is simply hiding from the blinding light pouring from heaven, not able to realize what is happening. One of the soldiers is trying to stop Saul’s frightened horse - it is in the center of the picture, we see only its croup and tail. But the horse rushes away, scattering warriors in its path, and only adds chaos.
Visually and compositionally, the picture is divided into two parts: the heavenly world and the earthly world. The earthly world tells of the defeat of troops, and the heavenly one shows the detachment of Jesus - these are angels in scarlet, turquoise or green robes. Angels watch the unfolding action: the persecutor of Saul, who was defeated and saw Jesus himself, finally believes in him. The famous religious plot performed by Michelangelo acquires visuality with a great deal of realism. The fresco is very dynamic, emotional and narrative. How else could a master tell a religious story, who during his life was called the Divine ?!
Unfortunately, unlike the Sistine Chapel, Paolina is closed to the public. This chapel is not far from the personal chambers of the Pope, and is of great importance to the Vatican (the collegium of cardinals gathers here for prayer and instructions before the conclave), which is why it is not accessible to visitors. Today we can see this amazing mural only in reproductions and in the photo. A heavily damaged fragment of cardboard was also preserved, where Michelangelo made some sketches for the image of soldiers on the left side of the fresco.