Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris/Bridgeman/Art Resource, NY
Rays of heavenly light, emitted by the hand of God, strike Paul’s face (far left), in this detail of an illumination from a Bible made in 843–851 for Charlemagne’s grandson, Charles the Bald. At center Paul falls stiffly to the ground; at right the blind apostle is led into Damascus. Prior to the 12th century, artists consistently portrayed Paul walking to Damascus. Only during the Renaissance did artists begin to depict Paul on horseback. This later pictorial tradition has proved dominant, coloring subsequent artists’—and, consequently, modern Catholics’—interpretation of the event.