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CaravaggioCaravaggio
THE CALLING OF SAINTTHE CALLING OF SAINT
MATTHEWMATTHEW
1599-1600
ROMA, Church of San Luigi dei Franc...
Jesus went out of town and saw a tax
collector in his office: his name was
Matthew. He said to him: "Follow me", and
he st...
The scene takes place in an empty and
badly lit setting where the only furniture
consists of a table and some chairs: it's...
On a wall
there's a high
window
opened,
whose glass
is obscured
by a yellowish
paper.
Five men are
seated around
the table:
Matthew (in
the middle)
and the other
tax collectors.
Two strangers have
just entered the room,
they're standing in
front of the five tax
collectors. One of the
two is Christ w...
The man who is pointed
at is the tax collector
Levi (Matthew). This
one, maybe dazzled by
the light suddenly
entering the ...
The other
characters seated
show different
behaviours. The
two youths with
the feathered beret
are turning their
look towa...
The other two
characters on the
left are depicted in
the action of
counting the
money. The old
man with the fur
collar scr...
The composition
The painting can be divided into two
counterposed parts: on the left, the group
of the five men seated aro...
The costumes, too, stress the counterposition of
the two groups. On one side, Matthew and the tax
collectors elegantly dre...
On the other side,
barefooted and wrapped
in old style clothes,
Christ and Saint Peter.
The absence of
footwear
symbolizes...
The two blocks are separated by an
empty space in the centre of the
depiction, only filled by Christ's
right hand * which ...
The Caravaggian realism
In Caravaggio's painting, for the first
time a sacred episode is depicted in a
realistic way and t...
The light
The intense light beam coming from behind Christ is
not produced by the door opening from where Christ
and Saint...
Henry IVHenry IV
The canvas is situated in a
French church. At the time of
its realization, the King of
France, Henry IV, ...
Saint PeterSaint Peter
Radiographies made in
1951 have revealed that the
figure of Peter was added
subsequently to the fir...
The spectaclesThe spectacles
The presence of spectacles are
a demonstration of the
scrupulous care Caravaggio
dedicates to...
Caravaggio's techniqueCaravaggio's technique
Caravaggio painted without
any preparatory drawing. He
only sketched the esse...
Source:
Federico Zeri, Vocazione di San Matteo,
1998, RCS Libri, Milano
Caravaggio, THE CALLING OF SAINT  MATTHEW
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Caravaggio, THE CALLING OF SAINT MATTHEW

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Slide show by Giuseppe Torchia
Translation from Italian by Cesare Bartoccioni

Veröffentlicht in: Kunst & Fotos

Caravaggio, THE CALLING OF SAINT MATTHEW

  1. 1. CaravaggioCaravaggio THE CALLING OF SAINTTHE CALLING OF SAINT MATTHEWMATTHEW 1599-1600 ROMA, Church of San Luigi dei Francesi Contarelli Chapel oil on canvas cm. 322 x cm.340 Slide show by Giuseppe Torchia Translation from Italian by Cesare Bartoccioni
  2. 2. Jesus went out of town and saw a tax collector in his office: his name was Matthew. He said to him: "Follow me", and he stood up and followed Him.
  3. 3. The scene takes place in an empty and badly lit setting where the only furniture consists of a table and some chairs: it's the office where duties are collected.
  4. 4. On a wall there's a high window opened, whose glass is obscured by a yellowish paper.
  5. 5. Five men are seated around the table: Matthew (in the middle) and the other tax collectors.
  6. 6. Two strangers have just entered the room, they're standing in front of the five tax collectors. One of the two is Christ who, with the arm extended, is pointing at the character seated in the middle, at the table. The other one is Saint Peter who, with a less evident gesture, reiterates the companion's gesture.
  7. 7. The man who is pointed at is the tax collector Levi (Matthew). This one, maybe dazzled by the light suddenly entering the room, seems moving backwards in a light motion of astonishment and, pointing at himself with his left hand, seems as if answering: “Who, me?”.
  8. 8. The other characters seated show different behaviours. The two youths with the feathered beret are turning their look towards the strangers.
  9. 9. The other two characters on the left are depicted in the action of counting the money. The old man with the fur collar scrutinizes the counting by the young man, bent over the table.
  10. 10. The composition The painting can be divided into two counterposed parts: on the left, the group of the five men seated around the table forms a horizontal block; on the right, the figures of Christ and Saint Peter follow a vertical disposition.
  11. 11. The costumes, too, stress the counterposition of the two groups. On one side, Matthew and the tax collectors elegantly dressed in Caravaggio's own age fashion.
  12. 12. On the other side, barefooted and wrapped in old style clothes, Christ and Saint Peter. The absence of footwear symbolizes the ideal of poverty towards which those who convert to Catholicism must inspire.
  13. 13. The two blocks are separated by an empty space in the centre of the depiction, only filled by Christ's right hand * which creates a link between them. * Note in the picture below how Christ's hand reproduces Adam's as painted on the Sistina's vault by Michelangelo.
  14. 14. The Caravaggian realism In Caravaggio's painting, for the first time a sacred episode is depicted in a realistic way and transposed into present times. The characters around the table are wearing contemporary clothing and find themselves in a setting which observers in that times could recognize as one of the many meeting places, a Roman pub in the 1600s. The artist, in this way, intended to express a religiousness at the reach of the popular, humble, poor classes, sinners included. “The Calling of Saint Matthew” was thus becoming the representation of an event which could happen for any man of that times, in any time.
  15. 15. The light The intense light beam coming from behind Christ is not produced by the door opening from where Christ and Saint Peter have entered. It's a symbolic, not a physical, light. It represents Grace, that is the offer for the salvation of the soul. Salvation which is received by those who turn their look towards It, while the two tax collectors who remain bent on greedily counting the money are destined to perdition.
  16. 16. Henry IVHenry IV The canvas is situated in a French church. At the time of its realization, the King of France, Henry IV, a protestant, had just converted to Catholicism. He was, for the Church, a sinner enlightened by Divine Grace.
  17. 17. Saint PeterSaint Peter Radiographies made in 1951 have revealed that the figure of Peter was added subsequently to the first layer. Its inserting refers to the vicarial role of the Church, that is the role of Christ's representative on Earth, which is entitled to interpreting the Scriptures.
  18. 18. The spectaclesThe spectacles The presence of spectacles are a demonstration of the scrupulous care Caravaggio dedicates to each detail of the painting. Already in use for a couple of centuries, spectacles start appearing in Flemish portraiture. Symbolically, they could represent “short- sightedness” which comes from being blinded by money.
  19. 19. Caravaggio's techniqueCaravaggio's technique Caravaggio painted without any preparatory drawing. He only sketched the essential lines of the figures or of the objects. In order to to this, he used a hard point with which he practised some incisions on the still fresh preparation.
  20. 20. Source: Federico Zeri, Vocazione di San Matteo, 1998, RCS Libri, Milano

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