It was traditional in illuminated manuscripts of the Bible to draw a picture of the author of each of the Gospels. This depiction of St. Matthew was created around 830 A.D. probably in Reims, France.
Other, more realistic, images were certainly being painted at that time, but here the unknown artist chose to infuse his depiction of St. Matthew the Evangelist with unmistakable energy.
Not only can you feel the emotion as he writes, but the scenery behind him, to me at least, seems to be being pulled down and into what he’s writing. As if to say, this is real, and all of creation is a part of it.
While little can be said of the artist and his great work, St. Matthew can be learned of from online sources such as Wikipedia, About.com and of course, he is ever present in his work, the Gospel of Matthew.
The Conversion on the Road To Damascus was created in 1601 by Caravaggio. It depicts the conversion of Saul (later St. Paul) on his trip to Damascus to persecute the Christians there. See Acts Chapter 9.
It’s an amazing work, capturing the emotion of the event as told, but certainly containing many of Caravaggio’s own impressions. The horse, unsurprised, looks on casually. Meanwhile Paul looks stunned, blinded and as if the world just came out from under him. And it did. All of the action of the picture is on the ground with Paul, with most of the emotion and power of it lying behind his eyelids.