Caravaggio 1573 – 1610

St Matthew and the Angel

oil on canvas (297 × 189 cm) — 1602 Museum San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

Caravaggio biography

This work is linked to Matthew 10:3

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Tags: Matthew

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Matthew is portrayed in a remarkable pose – not as one would expect a devout evangelist to be depicted. Caravaggio made an earlier version of the painting, but the commissioner refused it because of its lack of decorum. This work was sadly lost during WW2. It would seem as if the painter did not compromise his intentions, however – this time the evangelist has dirty feet.

It is clear that the angel is dictating something. Judging from his fingers he is enumerating. Maybe it is an opening chapter - often a long list of the forefathers of Jesus.

This work, together with The Martyrdom of St Matthew and The Calling of St Matthew, form what is known as the San Luigi dei Francesi-cycle.

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