Artistic Catholicism Essay

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Artistic Catholicism In 1517, a man by the name of Martin Luther posted something called the 95 Theses in a public square that would completely change the way religion was viewed. In fact, this document would also start a movement called the Protestant Reformation, which was a movement in which protestants sought to further their religion through the use of disproving the beliefs associated with Catholicism (Baroque Art Basics | The Art Of Manliness). However, little did Martin Luther know that he would indirectly cause the emergence of Baroque Art through the formation of the Council of Trent in 1545, 20 years after the fact. The Council of Trent caused the emergence of Baroque Art through the idea that all Catholics should be taught the …show more content…

The two works that began Caravaggio’s artistic career were The Calling of Matthew (Oil on Canvas, 1599-1600, Contarelli Chapel) and the accompanying work, The Martyrdom of St Matthew (Oil on canvas, 1599-1600, San Luigi dei Francesi). While both of these works are significant to the progression of the Baroque period, I’m going to focus on The Calling of Matthew for my argument. The Calling of Matthew was painted for the Contarelli Chapel, which was part of the French Church in Rome. While this is not confirmed, it is said that this piece could've been inspired by the fact that the French Ruler, Henri IV, converted back to the faith of his ancestors, which was Catholicism (Caravaggio _ Calling of Matthew). Therefore, this made this a revered piece not only due to the artistic merit seen throughout the work, but also because of the backstory behind the work. Caravaggio uses shadows to add the drama to his work that was common during the Baroque period, however, unlike some works, Caravaggio did not feel the need to use the scene of greatest action, but instead uses the period in between the action. If one looks close at this work, they can notice that Matthew, whom was a tax collector at the time, is counting the money that he has earned from the day with his colleagues. Yet, when one looks even loser, they will notice that Jesus is seen there sitting with them, bearing no sign of divinity except for a simple, almost unnoticeable, halo on top of his head. There are two underlying themes in this work that confirm the fact that is it Baroque art. The first is the overarching theme of Catholicism which all artwork during this period contains. This is seen both through the fact that St Matthew is portrayed in this work as a tax collector, yet Jesus is interjected into his life of sin to foreshadow his life as a changed man. Also, Caravaggio uses chiaroscuro, or the technique of using both dark

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