A favorite subject for Baroque artists was moments when one is going about one’s everyday life, and then suddenly the divine enters into that mundane, everyday life, and everything is forever changed. The Calling of Saint Matthew is a masterpiece by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, depicting the moment at which Jesus Christ inspires Matthew to follow him.It was completed in 1599–1600 for the Contarelli Chapel in the church of the French congregation, San Luigi … SubscribeStart your Register subscription today. Caravaggio, Calling of St. Matthew, c. 1599–1600, oil on canvas, (Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome). Subscriber Service CenterAlready a subscriber? They are so engrossed in the coins on the table that they cannot see anything else. Watershed Moment Often, we feel that we are not worthy of God’s mercy because of our sinful nature and rather than asking for forgiveness, we turn away from God, the one who wants to for give us and welcome us back into His arms. A coin is stuck conspicuously in his hat, symbolizing the privileged place that money holds in his thoughts. This gap is only traversable by someone who is part of both worlds and we have received such a being in Christ who is both God and man who has bridged the gap and given us the way to salvation. In those paintings St. Matthew looks similar to the bearded man who is pointing to himself in The Calling. Saint Matthew was one of the twelve apostles, and author of the first Gospel. The Pharisees objected to Christ eating with such people, to which Christ responded, "I am not come to call the just, but sinners," summing up the Christian message of salvation. And this is what I said when they asked me if I would accept my election as pontiff.” Then the pope whispers in Latin: “I am a sinner, but I trust in the infinite mercy and patience of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I accept in a spirit of penance.”, (Image of The Calling of St. Matthew by Caravaggio, c. 1600, via Wikimedia Commons). If Matthew decides to heed the call of the austerely dressed Christ, he is going to have to give up something that has become central to his very identity. The Calling of St. Matthew. Let us ask St. Matthew to intercede for us and may we always seek to follow the Good Shepherd wherever He may lead us. A God who dies on a cross is a God who takes love and sin seriously. However, it points in a different direction than Adam’s: from right to left, just as the hand of Michelangelo’s God the Father. This masterpiece is also an iconic depiction of the human-divine encounter that takes place in every priestly vocation. or school. View all posts by Max Milan. He was a man who had a reputation for being an outlaw, so to speak – he was forced to flee Rome because he murdered a man over a tennis match and a gambling debt (although some have a different theory of the motivation) – but he painted some of the most powerful and iconic works of Christian art. We covered this painting in that class and I did what I had done with every other old painting we talked about; I memorized its title – “The Calling of Saint Matthew”, I memorized who painted it – Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, I learned about Baroque style, and about Caravaggio’s turbulent life. It hangs alongside two other paintings of Matthew by Caravaggio, The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew (painted around the same time as the Calling) and The Inspiration of Saint Matthew (1602). This further accentuates the nature of Christ as true man and true God. This theory is supported by two others works of which The Calling is a part, The Inspiration of St. Matthew and The Martyrdom of St. Matthew. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Matthew 9:9-13 - The Calling of Matthew: Lessons for a Mission-Shaped Church Download the text of this sermon as a Word document here This story we’ve heard from the Gospel is the calling of Matthew who, we are told in 10:3, went on to become a disciple of Jesus. Most think Matthew is the bearded man. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. What Christ is doing in this painting is analogous to the creative action of God the Father. Despite the popularity that he enjoyed among the Roman elite, time and time again his nasty temper and rowdy night life landed him in courts and jails. This painting is not simply a snapshot of a great moment in time; it represents what each of us, as Christians, experience in our lives. I feel like him. They are hunched over their coins, completely oblivious to Christ. Like the rays of light in a typical Caravaggio work, God shines through the weakness of human nature and uses flawed individuals to communicate his own goodness to the world. Jesus and Peter (the man standing in front of Jesus) are dressed in simple clothing and are without shoes. Forced to flee Rome, Caravaggio died of a fever four years later after a series of unfortunate events, much to the glee of his enemies and the sorrow of his admirers. EWTN News, Inc. is the world’s largest Catholic news organization, comprised of television, radio, When God reaches out to the called man, there is always a moment of decision such as this: Christ unexpectedly breaks into his life and he discovers, in an overwhelming instant of revelation, that Jesus desires him. 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Santa Cruz Historical Commission Recommends Removing City’s Last Mission Bell, Archbishop of Mosul: Europe has Been Weakened by its Denial of its Spiritual and Cultural Roots. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. He is engaged in an apostolic internship in the New York City area. Their bare feet and simple clothing clash with the flamboyant colors of the tax collectors’ fashionable, 17th-century attire. We can also see that he is leaning back toward his friends and metaphorically, to his life before this moment – a life of greed centered around money. He was a man who had a reputation for being an outlaw, so to speak – he was forced to flee Rome because he murdered a man over a tennis match and a gambling debt (although some have a different theory of the motivation) – but he painted some of the most powerful and iconic works of … Peter carries a walking stick which implies that they are on the move and have no proper place to lay their heads. It illustrates the new relationship between God and man made possible by Jesus Christ.