The Roman Jew Saul was one of the most zealous persecutors of the Christians. On the road to Damascus he was blinded and subsequently converted to Christianity, taking the name of Paul. In his version of The Conversion of St Paul, Rubens closely follows the biblical account given in the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 9, verses 1 to 22. The drama of the scene recalls works of the Italian Cinquecento, which Rubens had studied soon after arriving in Italy in 1600. He was particularly fascinated by Leonardo da Vinci's Battle of Anghiari, Giulio Romano's Battle of the Milvian Bridge and Michelangelo's interpretation of the Phaeton myth. In Venice he became acquainted with the expressive colourfulness and dramatic use of light in Veronese's and Tintoretto's work. This painting is mentioned in the inventory of the the estate of Nicolaas Rockox dated 19 December 1640. Rockox was a merchant, mayor of Antwerp and friend and patron of Peter Paul Rubens. The painting was acquired by Prince Hans-Adam II von und zu Liechtenstein in 1997.
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Peter Paul Rubens
The Conversion of St. Paul, 1601/1602
Oil on panel
height 72 cm, width 103 cm
Inv.-No. GE40
Provenance: mentioned in the estate inventory of Nicolaes Rockox, Antwerp dated 19.12.1640; after 1641 in the property of Jan Roose, Rockox' successor as major; later collection B. Roose, Antwerp; auctioned at Sotheby’s, London on 24.3.1965 (not sold); before 1997 collection of J. Sabbe, Kortrijk, C&C Fine Art Ltd., Asper/Ohio; acquired in 1997 by Prince Hans-Adam II von und zu Liechtenstein
Further works on display
Decius Mus relating his dream, 1616/1617
Decius Mus preparing for Death, 1616/1617
The Death of Decius Mus, 1616/1617
The Obsequies of Decius Mus, 1616/1617
The Dismissal of the Lictors, 1616/1617
The Interpretation of the Victim, 1616/1617
The Trophy, 1616/1617
The Assumption of the Virgin, c. 1637
Venus in Front of the Mirror, 1614/1615
Oil sketch of Mars and Rhea Silvia, c. 1616/1617
Mars und Rhea Silvia, c. 1616/1617
The Discovery of the Infant Erichthonius, c. 1616
Satyr and Maid with Fruit Basket, 1615
The Lamentation, c. 1612
Christ Triumphant over Sin and Death, 1615/1622
Double Portrait of Albert and Nikolaus Rubens, c. 1626/1627
Portrait of Jan Vermoelen, 1616
Portrait of Clara Serena Rubens, c. 1616
Henry IV seizes the Opportunity to conclude Piece, 1628
The Victory of Henry IV at Coutras, 1628
The Consecration of Decius Mus, 1616/1617
The Obsequies of Decius Mus
Three Music-Making Angels, on the reverse side of St Joachim, 1615/1620
St. Catherine in the Clouds, 1620/1621
Four Music-Making Angels, on the reverse side of St Anne, 1615/1620
Apollo in the Chariot of the Sun, 1621/1625
Perseus and Andromeda
The Virgin adorned with flowers, 1609/1610
Psyche taken up into Olympus, 1621
Landscape with Milkmaids and Cows, 1616
Allegory of war, 1628
The Hunt of Meleager and Atalanta, 1628 (?)
The Assumption of the Virgin, modello, 1637
Ganymede, 1611/1612
Diana´s Hunt, 1628
St. Francis of Assisi before the Crucified Christ, 1625
Portrait of a Monk (?)
Adoration of the Magi, 1609/1610
The Visitation, 1611/1612
Portrait of Nicolaas Rockox, 1615
Samson and Delilah, c. 1610
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