La Hyre was an innovative artist, often using his superior skills as a storyteller to narrate rarely depicted subjects. Here La Hyre illustrated Acts 28:1-6. Paul was in the custody of soldiers on a ship bound for Rome. A shipwreck occurred off the coast of Malta and a fire was made for the survivors. Roused by the heat of the fire, a snake fastened onto Paul’s hand. The local inhabitants initially concluded he must be a murderer and was receiving retribution, but when Paul did not get sick they decided instead he must be a god.
The arresting use of color and elegant figures are hallmarks of La Hyre’s early, painterly style.