Caravaggio, 'The Calling of St.Matthew'

Listen to the Story: 10 minutes

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Caravaggio’s ‘Calling of St.Matthew’ was painted (circa 1599) alongside ‘Inspiration’ and ‘Martyrdom’ paintings for the Contarelli Chapel within the church of San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome. This painting is one of the crowning examples of his mastery of chiaroscuro, a technique that took the treatment of light and shade to new levels in the story of canvas painting. In the context of Christian art, the viewer is left to ponder as to which of the characters depicted actually represents St. Matthew. The artist is ambiguous on this question, almost suggesting that it could be any of us!