Paintings in the Contarelli Chapel (1599-1600)
by CARAVAGGIO

In 1565 the French Monsignor Matteo Contarelli acquired a chapel in San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome, but when he died twenty years later it had not yet been decorated. The executor of his will, Virgilio Crescenzi, and later his son, Giacomo, undertook the task. The decorative scheme called for a statue of St Matthew and the Angel, commissioned first to Gerolamo Muziano, and then to the Flemish sculptor Cobaert, for the high altar; and for a fresco cycle for the walls and ceiling by Cavalier d'Arpino. The latter decorated the vault in 1591-93, but the walls were left bare. On 13 June 1599 a contract was stipulated before a notary by which Caravaggio undertook to execute two paintings for the lateral walls (The Calling of Saint Matthew and The Martyrdom of St Matthew), for which he was paid the following year (1600), after the paintings had been set in place. Later, on 7 February 1602, after Cobaert's statue had been judged unsatisfactory, an altarpiece was entrusted to Caravaggio in a separate contract that called for delivery of the work by 32 May, the Feast of the Pentecost. This painting was rejected, the artist made another one (which was accepted) in a surprisingly brief time, receiving payment for this second work on 22 September.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 8 minutes):
Johann Sebastian Bach: St. Matthew Passion BWV 244 (excerpts)


Preview Picture Data File Info Comment
Interior view of the chapel
1599-1600
Oil on canvas
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

1100*1495
True Color
249 Kb



Interior view of the chapel
1599-1600
Oil on canvas
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

1000*1263
True Color
224 Kb



The Calling of Saint Matthew
1599-1600
Oil on canvas, 322 x 340 cm
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

1590*1500
True Color
135 Kb



The Calling of Saint Matthew
1599-1600
Oil on canvas, 322 x 340 cm
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

1060*1001
True Color
113 Kb



The Calling of Saint Matthew (detail)
1599-1600
Oil on canvas, width of detail: 86 cm
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

908*1102
True Color
133 Kb



The Calling of Saint Matthew (detail)
1599-1600
Oil on canvas, width of detail: 92 cm
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

907*1101
True Color
135 Kb



The Calling of Saint Matthew (detail)
1599-1600
Oil on canvas
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

900*1025
True Color
115 Kb



The Calling of Saint Matthew (detail)
1599-1600
Oil on canvas
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

647*946
True Color
119 Kb



The Calling of Saint Matthew (detail)
1599-1600
Oil on canvas, width of detail: 30 cm
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

731*900
True Color
96 Kb



The Calling of Saint Matthew (detail)
1599-1600
Oil on canvas
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

970*668
True Color
88 Kb



The Calling of Saint Matthew (detail)
1599-1600
Oil on canvas
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

566*975
True Color
124 Kb



The Calling of Saint Matthew (detail)
1599-1600
Oil on canvas
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

800*1050
True Color
74 Kb



The Calling of Saint Matthew (detail)
1599-1600
Oil on canvas
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

1027*1000
True Color
88 Kb



The Martyrdom of St Matthew
1599-1600
Oil on canvas, 323 x 343 cm
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

1169*1100
True Color
121 Kb



The Martyrdom of St Matthew (detail)
1599-1600
Oil on canvas
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

1200*1521
True Color
145 Kb



The Martyrdom of St Matthew (detail)
1599-1600
Oil on canvas, width of detail: 90 cm
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

827*1000
True Color
97 Kb



The Martyrdom of St Matthew (detail)
1599-1600
Oil on canvas, width of detail: 49 cm
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

701*860
True Color
66 Kb



The Martyrdom of St Matthew (detail)
1599-1600
Oil on canvas, width of detail: 49 cm
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

858*1050
True Color
115 Kb



The Martyrdom of St Matthew (detail)
1599-1600
Oil on canvas, width of detail: 90 cm
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

809*1000
True Color
124 Kb



The Martyrdom of St Matthew (detail)
1599-1600
Oil on canvas, width of detail: 90 cm
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

770*850
True Color
104 Kb



St Matthew and the Angel
1602
Oil on canvas, 232 x 183 cm
Formerly Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum, Berlin

634*800
Grayscale
77 Kb



The Inspiration of Saint Matthew
1602
Oil on canvas, 296 x 189 cm
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

1125*1800
True Color
124 Kb



The Inspiration of Saint Matthew (detail)
1602
Oil on canvas
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

1109*1500
True Color
169 Kb




Summary of works by Caravaggio
1593-96 | 1596-98 | 1598-1600 | 1600-03 | 1603-06 | 1606-07
1607 | 1607-09 | 1609-10 | Contarelli Chapel | Cerasi Chapel | Other