Painting of the Week: The Calling of Saint Matthew

This piece from Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio is called Vocazione di san Matteo, or “The Calling of Saint Matthew.” It depicts the moment described in Mark 2:13–14 when Jesus inspires Matthew to follow him.

There is some debate about which man in the painting is Matthew, but most believe it to the bearded one at the table.

Scholars often note that Jesus’ pointing hand is reminiscent of Adam’s hand in Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam.

He went out again beside the sea; and all the crowd gathered about him, and he taught them. And as he passed on, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.

— Mark 2:13–14 (RSVCE)

Artist: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
Year: 1599–1600
Location: San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome. (The piece hangs opposite of Caravaggio’s The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew, which was commissioned along with The Calling.)


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