The Conversion of St. Paul, Lucas van Leyden (Netherlandish, Leiden ca. 1494–1533 Leiden), Engraving

The Conversion of St. Paul

Lucas van Leyden (Netherlandish, Leiden ca. 1494–1533 Leiden)
Sheet: 11 1/8 in. × 16 in. (28.3 × 40.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1934
Accession Number:
Not on view
In a tiny vignette in the left background, Lucas depicted the dramatic moment when Saul of Tarsus (Saint Paul), on a journey to Damascus to arrest the followers of Christ, is confronted by God, who strikes him blind. In this extraordinary print, the artist chose to focus on a less traditional but more emotionally poignant and human aspect of the story. Saul, now blind, is shown in the foreground, his head bowed as he continues on his way to Damascus, helplessly leaning against his companions for guidance.
The busy horizontal procession, in front of a peculiar rocky outcropping and under a partially defined sky, full of exotic gesticulating figures who animatedly discuss the event, indicates Lucas' familiarity with Martin Schongauer's engraving Christ Carrying the Cross (35.27). Yet, in contrast to Schongauer's work of about three decades earlier, Lucas invites viewers into the composition rather than confronting them with it. In addition, his style is marked by a shallow engraving line, which, when printed, produces an overall soft, atmospheric, and flowing tone.
Saint Paul Led Away to Damascus

Marking: Fürstlich Waldburg Wolfegg’sches Kupferstichkabinett (Lugt 2542)
Fürstlich Waldburg Wolfegg'sches Kufperstichkabinett; Vendor: P. & D. Colnaghi & Co.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Print in the North," May 06, 1997 - July 13, 1997.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," July 12, 1993–October 25, 1993.

H. X.107; D.107; NH 107 (a)
Suzanne Boorsch, Nadine Orenstein "The Print in the North: The Age of Albrecht Durer and Lucas van Leyden." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 54, no. 4, Spring 1997, p. 32.