FLEMALLE, Bertholet I
The Conversion of Saint Paul
Bertholet Flemalle was, until Gérard de Lairesse, the greatest painter of the Liege school whose position between the Flemish and French schools made it particularly original. The piece was painted for the high altar of the Cathedral of Liège. Illustrated by Caravaggio amongst others, the theme is that of the blinding light seen by Saul, a merchant hostile to Christianity, as Christ appeared to him. Literally transported, he fell from his horse and became Paul, the tireless apostle and preacher. In this masterpiece of Baroque painting, Flemalle managed a marvellous rendering of the violence of the action and what the Italians call contrapposto, or the diverging movements of the figures.