(b. 1571, Caravaggio, d. 1610, Porto Ercole)
The Conversion on the Way to Damascus (detail)1600-01
Oil on canvas
Cerasi Chapel, Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome
As compared with the first version, the valid version, painted on canvas in contravention of the letter of the contract, reduces the incident to what is visible. Instead of looking like a figure modeled on a classical river-god, as he does in the first version, Saul now appears boldly foreshortened. The model Caravaggio has chosen is markedly younger, though is again wearing Roman leather-armor, which follows the contours of his body. That said, powerful red coloring and clearly defined borders, as well as the shadow areas on Saul's neck, now emphasize the difference between skin and armor.