Saint Paul Rending His Garments

Raphaelabout 1515 - 1516

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

In 1515 Pope Leo X commissioned Raphael to make cartoons for a series of ten tapestries to decorate the lower walls of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. Raphael made this drawing as a study for the figure of Saint Paul in the Sacrifice at Lystra, one of the ten tapestries illustrating the Acts of the Apostles.

The apostle Saint Paul tears his garment in anger at the people of Lystra in Asia Minor, who had prepared a sacrificial offering to the apostle and Saint Barnabas. After the two saints had miraculously cured a lame man, the people of Lystra believed that Paul and Barnabas were the pagan gods Mercury and Jupiter. The expression on Saint Paul's face and the contortion of his body convey his anguish at the pagan offering.

In this drawing Raphael used the metalpoint technique. This laborious technique requires the utmost skill: once a line is drawn in metalpoint, it is very difficult to remove or correct it.


  • Title: Saint Paul Rending His Garments
  • Creator: Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio)
  • Date: about 1515 - 1516
  • Physical Dimensions: 23 x 10.3 cm (9 1/16 x 4 1/16 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Metalpoint, heightened with white gouache, on lilac-gray prepared paper
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Drawing
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 84.GG.919
  • Markings: Markings: At bottom left corner, collection mark of William, second duke of Devonshire (L.718); at bottom right corner, collection mark of Sir Peter Lely (L.2092).
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: Italian
  • Classification: Drawings

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