The Calling of St. Matthew (form Medical Matins)

The Calling of St. Matthew (alternatively, The Vocation of St. Matthew) examples Caravaggio’s signature chiaroscuro and naturalism. Its technical perfection is matched by its theological excellence, because it has much to say about vocations.

First, look at the principle figures in the scene: Christ, St. Matthew, and St. Peter (recognizable in front of Christ by his traditional gold outer garment over a blue-green inner garment).

Christ reaches toward St. Matthew, selecting him. His eyes are wide, his mouth slightly open, his head forward on his body. This illustrates His eager desire (Luke 22:15) to have each of us belong to Him, which desire is the source of every vocation.

His hand is almost precisely copied from Michelangelo’s famous Creation of Adam. Christ’s hand is pointing in the same direction as the hand of Michelangelo’s God the Father. However, Caravaggio does not copy God the Father’s energetic fingers; instead, he traces Adam’s limp hand. In these details, Caravaggio represents our Lord as divine and descending to men from Heaven; at the same time, he includes Christ’s full humanity–he took on all the (unfallen) weakness of His creatures… READ MORE ON MEDICALMATINS


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