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.
Paul in Prison, Tapestry, Vatican Museum. (s)
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?
The Miraculous Draught of Fishes.
The Charge to Peter.
The Healing of the Lame Man.
The Death of Ananias.
The Stoning of Stephen. (cartoon lost)
The Conversion of Saul. (cartoon lost)
The Conversion of the Proconsul.
The Sacrifice at Lystra.
Paul Preaching at Athens.