The Conversion of Paul (1567)

Bruegel the Elder, Pieter (c.1525-1569)

The Conversion of Paul
Oil on oak panel, 108.3 × 156.3 × 3.2 cm
Kunsthistorisches MuseumVienna

Inscribed on the lower right side of the rock: BRVEGEL. M.D.LXVII

According to the biblical story, Saul, on his way from Jerusalem to Damascus, hears the voice of Jesus, is dazzled by a ray of light and plunges from his horse. At this moment the fanatical persecutor of Christians turns into the Apostle Paul. As often is the case with Bruegel, the main scene is small, embedded, almost hidden within a large scene. An army is in the process of losing its way, the mountain is impassable. A political interpretation of this incident (an allusion to the 1567 Alpine crossing of the Spanish Duke Alba) is generally not accepted. (KHM)