Caravaggio 1573 – 1610
The Martyrdom of St Matthew
oil on canvas (323 × 343 cm) — 1599 - 1600 San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome
This work is linked to Matthew 10:3
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A legend has is that the apostle Matthew was murdered in a church in Ethiopia because he had inconvenienced the local king. Caravaggio shows the moment just before Matthew is stabbed to death. men on the foreground are probably waiting to be baptized. On the left is a group of bystanders dressed in late 16th century fashion. The man in the back, who turns his head to see what is going on, is probably the master himself.
The attitude of the figures, the play with light and darkness, the threat from the man with the sword and the overall circular composition make this a truly amazingly dynamic painting.
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