Milan, ca. 1600-1630
The Conversion of St. Paul, ca. 1621
Oil on wood panel.
This is one of the most important early pictures by Crespi, the finest painter of the early 1600s in Milan. The general composition of this flattened and compressed scene, showing a fallen Paul, shielding his eyes against the light of God on the road to Damascus, is derived from low-relief sculpture, while the intricate rhythms and palette recall early Baroque painters. However, it is the incisive drawing of the protagonist, the exact modeling of his arms and legs, and the vividness of the drama that are most characteristic of Crespi.