God and Mammon in Caravaggio's "The Calling of St. Matthew"

I followed a link from David Mills at First Things to a post by Sandro Magister on Giorgio Alessandrini's analysis of Caravaggio's "The Calling of St. Matthew." If you ever have a chance to go to Rome, make certain that amongst the many other artistic treasures and wonders, you visit St. Louis of the French Church where this painting hangs. The Feast of St. Matthew was on September 21, which I passed over on the blog since this is also my wife's birthday (first things first). The analysis by Alessandrini, however, is relevant not only for the Feast of St. Matthew, but our discussion on this blog of Jesus' teaching on wealth and possessions.

Here is a snippet of Alessandrini's reading of the Caravaggio painting: 

"The entrance of Jesus accompanied by Peter provokes different reactions. The two figures on the left are so absorbed in the work of counting that they pay no attention to the appearance, much less to Christ's invitation to Matthew. On the contrary, the sudden appearance of the light does nothing but focus their attention on the coins they are scrutinizing, in one case with the help of a pair of eyeglasses."

Click here to read all of Alessandrini's analysis, which is beneath Magister's post. An image of the painting is also embedded at the post.

John W. Martens

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

The pope's emphasis on protecting undocumented workers is particularly significant for Europe and the United States, where the treatment of refugees and migrants has been a consistent challenge.
Gerard O'ConnellFebruary 21, 2017
With his 5,800-word manifesto on “Building Global Community,” the Facebook C.E.O. seems to be easing ever more into his role as benevolent dictator of the media universe.
Nathan SchneiderFebruary 21, 2017
An official said that green-card holders and dual citizens of the U.S. and any of those countries are exempt. The new draft also no longer directs authorities to single out—and reject—Syrian refugees when processing new visa applications.
Although Ms. McCorvey was the plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, she later became a pro-life activist.