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St. Matthew

St. Matthew

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The Calling of St. Matthew might have taken place either indoors or outdoors, because, sometimes St. Matthew is in a building and Christ is outside according to the biblical context (Culler, 2007). According to figure 646, Christ appears through the window summoning St. Matthew. In this paper, the focus is on the artist’s use of light, and the way light adds to the subject matter.


In the figure, there is no careful manipulation of the light. The window covering is with oilskin, and thus likely to supply the room with diffused light within the painter's studio. The light on the upper part aims at illuminating the face of Saint Matthew and the entire group (Culler, 2007). The light behind Saint Peter and Christ is for introduction and makes the event appear miraculous. This is because as Saint Peter comes in, he does not cast a shhadow on the defensive youth facing him.


Before and after Caravaggio, the Calling of St. Matthew represented a pretext in anecdotal genre painting to show how much light can affect the appearance of an event (Warwick and Caravaggio, 2006). The lighting brings in the idea that the calling of St. Matthew was miraculous and with no obstacles, the way Saint Peter never casts a shadow.

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