📍 San Luigi dei Francesci, Rome
We return to Rome for the third part of our Italian art tour. Out of the light and into the darkness. Or rather, we can now see the light in contrast to our surrounding darkness.
The technique you can see in this painting is known as ‘chiaroscuro’. The master of this technique is undoubtedly Caravaggio.
The figure on the far right is Jesus. “Follow me”, he says, pointing to a bearded man called Levi. Levi’s destiny seems to be already decided, as the burst of light from the top right corner illuminates his face.
‘Follow me’ from the darkness (lo scuro) into the light (il chiaro). Here lies the contrast. He has been chosen. You can stay here, in the dark. Or you can come with me and be enlightened.
He did indeed follow Jesus, turning from humble Levi into the apostle Matthew. Well, you wouldn’t say no would you? After all, it’s not every day Jesus walks into your local pub and asks after you!
The ‘chiaroscuro’ technique revolutionised the art world and has been used often in many visual art forms ever since.