The Conversion of Saint Paul

Artist: Ludovico Carracci (Italian, Bologna 1555–1619 Bologna)

Date: ca. 1587–89

Medium: Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, highlighted with white gouache and cream color oil paint, over black chalk, on paper toned with light-brown wash

Dimensions: sheet: 22 3/8 x 13 5/8 in. (56.8 x 34.6 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Purchase, Rogers Fund and Gift of Dr. Mortimer D. Sackler, Theresa Sackler and Family, 2002

Accession Number: 2002.33


Acquired by the Museum in 2002, this dazzling drawing by Lodovico is a recent discovery and the only securely attributed study for his famed early altarpiece for the Bolognese church of San Francesco (now in the Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna). In the drawing as in the painting, the use of diagonals that lead into the space, the cropping of forms, the agitated movement, and the visionary lighting all lend immediacy to the drama of the moment-and testify to the emergence of the Baroque style. A study for the effects of light in the painting, the drawing differs from the finished altarpiece in a number of details. The beams of heavenly light, for example, created here by wiping the aqueous white highlights with a sponge or cloth, were omitted from the painting. The drawing was first attributed to Ludovico Carracci by Françoise Viatte, although In her monograph of 2004 (Ludovico Carracci and the Art of Drawing), Babette Bohn has rejected Carracci's authorship, in favor of an attribution to Cavedone.