This paper will analyze the iconography of two works from the biblical reference to the Calling of Saint Matthew. Both of them portray a verse found in the New Testament, Matthew 9:9. The reading said: “And when Jesus passed on from thence, he saw a man sitting in the custom house, named Matthew; and he said to him: Follow me. And he arose and followed him.” This story is about a tax collector, Levi (Saint Matthews name before he became an apostle) being called by Jesus to come join him. Before Saint Matthew became an apostle he was very money crazy and cared about all of his belongings. This verse is so powerful because it shows how Matthew was able to give up all of his possessions for Jesus.
The first work I will talk about is a oil on canvas painting from Rome, The Calling of Saint Matthew done by Caravaggio in 1597. The image presents Jesus to the far right of the picture, slightly hidden with the shadows covering him, but his face and his stretched out hand is being illuminated. The use of tenebrism and color in Caravaggio’s work gives it a dramatic feel and makes it look c...
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