4. The Persuasive Art by Caravaggio and its Influence on otherPaintersAfterthe Counter Reformation, Caravaggio’s emerging ability to depict new religiouspaintings highly depicting the human feelings and dramatic emotion in hisChiaroscuro style provided to be an important inspiration for many artiststhroughout the ages which included masters such as Georges de La Tour in Franceand Gerard van Honthorst in the Netherlands.4.1 Caravaggio(1571 – 1610) Italy The Calling of Saint Matthew(1599–1600)Caravaggio’stechnique was one that highlighted realism through which he remained faithfulto truthful details and never beyond that normally seen. He created a type of realismthat griped the spectator’s attention to the symbolic meaning of the detailedcontent of the composition. His figures thus now became the artistic objectsused in the creation of contrast between light and dark. His scenes are more oftenthan not comprises of a serious of elaborated actions of events, thus reproducingscenes of realism.
However it is impossible to consider Caravaggio as just a realistand ignore his real innovation”…heighteningof dramatic effect by the use of lighting that was always feigned and oftenhighly artificial showing his absolute sense of chiaroscuro.” The subjectmatter of Caravaggio’s work does remain quite conventional in his preferencefor religious themes and thus his effects on “…theatrical realism may well becalled Baroque.”1Composition of theCalling of Saint MatthewThis masterpiecedepicts the moment when Jesus Christ inspired Matthew to follow him to becomean apostle. This painting was commissioned by Cardinal Matthew Contarelli, who providedresources and specific guidelines for the decoration of a chapel based onscenes from the life of Saint Matthew.
2The Calling of Saint Matthewshows the passage in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 9:9), when Jesus went intothe custom house, saw Matthew at his seat and called to him, “Follow me”. According to theHoly Scriptures, Matthew rose and followed him. TheCalling of Saint Matthew can be divided into two parts. The figures on theright form a vertical rectangle while those on the left create the horizontal chunk.In this painting Jesus is situated standing on the right hand side of this paintingand is almost fully covered by the apostle Peter however is notable by his extendedhand.Christ ispointing towards Levi, a tax-collector and is depicted as the highly visiblebearded man wearing a dark coloured beret.
Levi is placed well to the left handside of this painting however the viewer’s attention is drawn to him by thehands of Jesus and Paul jointly pointing at him but also by the intensity ofthe light shining on his face. The other figures that appear in this paintingare similar if not modelled by those persons in other of Caravaggio’s works,such as Cardsharps painted earlier. Theartist’s use of light and shadow adds drama to this image with all the figures engulfedby shadow with only the beaming light that shines across the wall andhighlights the fact of Matthew and the seated group. Caravaggio brought thiscanvas to life using vivid colours, bold contrasts of yellow, reds, gold andgreens including various intricate textures of fabric. 1 https://www.caravaggio-foundation.org/biography.html2 http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/famous-paintings/calling-of-saint-matthew.htm