The Conversion of St. Paul

Object Details

Title:

The Conversion of St. Paul

Artist/Maker(s):

Christoph Daniel Schenck (German, 1633 - 1691)

Culture:

German

Date:

1685

Medium:

Limewood

Dimensions:

36.6 x 26.2 cm (14 7/16 x 10 5/16 in.)

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Having just fallen off his rearing horse, Saint Paul lies prostrate on the ground. His closed eyes hint at the blindness that struck him the moment that Jesus appeared in the clouds to him. From Jesus' mouth flow the words recorded in the Acts of the Apostles: Saule, Saule, quid me persequeri? (Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me)? The artist emphasized the drama and emotion of the moment by undercutting the horse's head and front leg and by carving Paul with foreshortening and in the greatest depth to suggest projection into the viewer's space.

Saint Paul, originally Saul, was a Pharisee who persecuted Jesus' followers until the episode depicted here. The fall, during which Jesus called upon him to take up an apostolic mission, led to his conversion and a change of name from Saul to Paul. The limewood panel depicting this pivotal moment in Saint Paul's spiritual life is paired with a panel of the Penitent Saint Peter. Together the two served as meditational images, perhaps intended for a Kunstkammer or collector's cabinet. Alternatively, since sculptor Christoph Daniel Schenck often worked for monastic patrons, the pair may have been housed in a monastery.

Provenance
by 1856 - 1907

Friedrich I. Grossherzog von Baden, Herzog von Zaehringen, German, 1826 - 1907 (Grossherzogliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe)

1907 - 1928

Friedrich II. Grossherzog von Baden, Herzog von Zaehringen, German, 1857 - 1928

1928 - 1929

Max Prinz von Baden, German, 1867 - 1929

1929 - 1963

Berthold Markgraf von Baden, Herzog von Zaehringen, German, 1906 - 1963

1963 - 1995

Max Markgraf von Baden, Herzog von Zaehringen, German, 1906 - 1963 [sold, Sotheby's, Baden-Baden, Germany, October 5, 1995, lot 439, to Same Art Ltd.]

1995 - 1996

Same Art Ltd., sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996.

Bibliography

Lohse, Brigitte. "Nachträge zum Werk von Christoph Daniel Schenck." Das Münster 21 (1968), pp. 123-25, fig. 13.

Sotheby's, Baden-Baden. Die Sammlung der Markgrafen und Grossherzöge von Baden: Kunstkammer. Vol. 2. October 5, 1995, pp. 152-54, lot. 439, ill.

Fischer, Fritz, et al. Christoph Daniel Schenck, 1633-1691, exh. cat. (Konstanz: Rosgartenmuseum, 1996), pp. 163-64, no. 36, fig. 36b, pl. 13, entry by Fritz Fischer.

Fusco, Peter. Summary Catalogue of European Sculpture in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 47, ill.

Fischer, Fritz. "Zwei Hauptwerke von Christoph Daniel Schenk im J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu." In Skulptur in Süddeutschland 1400-1770: Festschrift für Alfred Schädler. Kahsnitz, Rainer, and Peter Volk, eds. (Munich: Deutscher Kunstverlag, 1998), pp. 273-80, fig. 1.