The Raphael Cartoons are considered one of the greatest treasures of the Renaissance. These huge, full-scale designs for tapestries were created by Raphael – one of the most important masters of the Renaissance period. Commissioned by Pope Leo X, shortly after his election in 1513, for the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Palace, the Cartoons depict key episodes of the lives of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, the founding fathers of the Christian church.
The Conversion of the Proconsul also known as The Blinding of Elymas (Acts 13: 6 – 12)
Paul preaches to a Roman proconsul (regional governor) and converts him to Christianity by performing a miracle, described as the 'Blinding of Elymas'.
On their journey through Cyprus, the apostles Paul, wearing the red tunic, and Barnabas, stood to his left, arrive in Paphos and are called before the Roman proconsul Lucius Sergius Paulus, who wants to hear about the Christian faith. The sorcerer Elymas tries to prevent Paul and Barnabas from converting the proconsul so Paul punishes him with temporary blindness. Astonished at what he has witnessed, Paulus embraces the new faith.
The corresponding tapestry was displayed in the Sistine Chapel on St Stephen day, 26 December, 1519. It is probable that Raphael saw it and even supervised its installation in the chapel.
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- Colour (visible paint layer) – Explore the Cartoon's paint layer, including Raphael's individual brushstrokes.
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