Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Caravaggio and St. Matthew and the angel

St Matthew and the angel,
version "accepted"
This painting from Caravaggio is in the church of St. Louis of the French. Initially Caravaggio realised a version of St. Matthew (the one here in the photo in black and white - destroyed during WWII) which was considered outrageous by the customers: the saint was represented like a peasant who barely knew how to write and who was guided by the angel in writing his own gospel. He was without halo and crossed his legs showing his bare feet in the foreground. In the second painting Matthew has the halo, he holds firmly the pen in his hand and looks less rough: in a word he is more presentable. At the end this latter version was chosen: a small case of artistic censorship.

St Matthew and the angel
version "refused", destroyed during
world war II