BRUEGEL, Pieter the Elder
(b. ca. 1525, Brogel, d. 1569, Brussel)

The Conversion of Saul (detail)

Oil on panel
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Bruegel shows Paul's army on its way to Damascus in contemporary dress and with sixteenth-century armour and weapons. The saint himself is in a blue doublet and hose of the painter's day. Bruegel, having lived in Italy, was not unfamiliar with classical dress: his intention in representing biblical scenes in contemporary dress was to stress their relevance to his own time. In view of the persecution and counter-persecution of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, the story of Paul's conversion had especial significance.