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The Conversion of Saint Paul

late 1580s
16th century
42.8 cm x 58 cm (16 7/8 in. x 22 13/16 in.)

Paolo Farinati (Verona, Italy, 1524 - 1606, Verona, Italy) Primary

Object Type: drawing
Artist Nationality: Europe, Italian
Medium and Support: Pen and brown ink with brush and brown wash and white heightening over black and lead white chalks on beige antique laid paper, laid down
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Suida-Manning Collection, 2017
Accession Number: 2017.1109

This drawing renders the vision of the Roman soldier Saul and his conversion to Christianity as a frieze of spectacular incident and stunning plasticity. This kind of arrangement, horizontal format with surging population, was typical of Farinati’s most imposing paintings. Here, dilated into a sweeping panorama and bound by sustained rhythms, the composition is especially dynamic and coherent. Similarly, the complicated surface, rich color, and elaborate finish are characteristic of Farinati’s preferred mode of drawing. This work reflects his latest graphic development, with relatively restrained heightening and varied washes animating the surface, even hinting at naturalism. So insistent in drawing but then so concentrated in pictorial effect, Farinati’s graphic style lent itself to the production of autonomous works for collectors.

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