IFPDA - Artwork
The Conversion of Saint Paul

Hans Baldung (Grien)

The Conversion of Saint Paul

Woodcut

293 x 190 mm. 11 x 7 in.

David Tunick, Inc.

New York, NY

212-570-0090

Above $100,000

More Information

Dimensions: 293 x 190 mm. 11 x7 in. Reference: Hollstein 125, only state Watermark: None visible Provenance: William M. Ivins, Jr. (1881-1961), first curator of prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; by descent to his daughter, Barbara Ivins; 1980 to David Tunick, Inc., New York Paul, an officer in the Roman Legion, participated enthusiastically in the persecution of Christians. He is shown here on the road to Damascus on a mission to destroy a small Christian community. Blinded by “a light from heaven above the brightness of the sun”, he is thrown from his horse, instantly converts, and becomes a missionary who when later martyred is called Saint Paul. (Acts 26:13-14) The angst of twentieth century German Expressionism is presaged in this sixteenth century woodcut - in the physical press of human and animal figures, in the unstable strain of diagonal versus horizontal line, in the contortion, agitation, and frenzy. Baldung developed his own unmistakable style despite the powerful influence of his great master, Albrecht Dürer. Alan Shestack describes the extent to which Baldung became a highly important artist in his own right (Hans Baldung Grien, Yale University, 1981, pp. 3-18); also, Heinrich Wölfflin's The Sense of Form in Art (New York, 1958, translated from Italien und das deutsche Formegefühl, Munich, 1931) refers to Baldung more than any other artist in support of the author's thesis regarding the “Germanness” of German art. A relatively rare print, earlier than any other impression we know, before the breaks that occur early in the printing of the block. For example, in the Munich impression illustrated in Curjel (Hans Baldung Grien, Munich, 1923, pl. 4), compare the rump of the horse and the striations in the clouds; the Hollstein reproduction is difficult to read, but the break in the borderline on the left has not yet occurred in our impression. Three or four impressions have been at auction in the last twenty years, all printed later than ours. One of the powerful images of sixteenth century German art, but it can only be fully appreciated in an impression as early as this one, from the Ivins collection.