Paul in Prison.
Raphael Tapestry.

Given its unusual dimensions the tapestry Paul in Prison must have been designed for a specific location within the Sistine Chapel.

It tells the story of Paul's imprisonment and miraculous escape. Locked in a cell with his feet in shackles Paul is deep in prayer.

At midnight a huge earthquake destroys the foundations of the prison, the doors of the cells are flung open and Paul's chains fall from his body.

Raphael has represented the earthquake as a herculean figure who shatters the ground and even the very border of the tapestry itself.

The cartoon for this work has been lost but the image still manages to project a strong message about the power of prayer, a very popular subject in Renaissance Italy.

Personal Opinion:-

The figure representing the earthquake would be at home in a modern-day comic book. He looks for all the world like one of those super-heroes, a muscular saviour with the powers to save the world, almost five hundred years ahead of his time!!! 

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? 

Paul in Prison, Tapestry, Vatican Museum. (s)