Description of the painting by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio “St. Matthew and the Angel”

Description of the painting by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio St. Matthew and the Angel

The artist many times turned to biblical scenes. The impression was created that while working on the paintings he was looking for something very important for himself. The bright color distinction between the worldly and the highest in his canvases creates an additional contrast between these two spheres. Detailed drawing of figures and objects in the foreground, gives the events a reality.

The painting “St. Matthew and the Angel” was conceived as part of the painting cycle for the Contarini Chapel. The wizard has created two versions. One was rejected as inappropriate to the requirements of the canons. The apostle was sitting and holding a book on his lap, barely parsing what was written. The angel hovering over the saint made considerable efforts directing the hand of the writer saint.

Such an interpretation of the images did not suit church ministers at all. And they insisted on a second attempt. The second version is very different from the first composition and emotional message. The size of the canvas has been increased.

On a very dark, almost black background, de figures stand out brightly. Matthew listens attentively to the angel above his head. The clothing of the saint contrasts with the angelic snow-white attire. The pose of the saint is very unstable, but he does not pay attention to it, carefully recording the revelations of the angel.

The original of the first version was not preserved, there is only a black and white reproduction. The fate of the second canvas, too, would have been unenviable if it were not for the art historian Roberto Longhi, who rediscovered them and prepared them for the exhibition of the artist’s works.