Affordable Access

Self-reference in Caravaggio's Calling of St. Matthew

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library
Publication Date
  • Linguistics
  • Literature


Among Caravaggio’s most critically successful commissions, the Contarelli Chapel’s Calling of St. Matthew was also his first major, public, religious historia, and a turning point in the artist’s stylistic progression. Caravaggio’s Calling of St. Matthew is a highly self-referential painting, a demonstration piece in the fullest sense, and yet, scholarship has not considered the canvas as a statement about “painting,” aside from noting its explicit reference to Michelangelo’s Sistine Creation of Adam. This paper interprets the Calling as a painting about “painting,” drawing attention to the prominent window, Caravaggio’s use of light and color, and other formal aspects. It situates the Calling’s self-reference in relation to contemporary criticism and biographies of the artist, positing the painting as an “artist-in-his-studio” picture and exploring the Calling’s interaction with its facing pendant, the Martyrdom of St. Matthew.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.


Seen <100 times

More articles like this

Medical students with low self-efficacy bolstered...

on Perspectives on medical educat... April 2014

Calling time for strokes.

on European journal of emergency... December 2008
More articles like this..