(b. 1588, Utrecht, d. 1629, Utrecht)

The Calling of St Matthew

Oil on canvas, 152 x 195 cm
Musée des Beaux-Arts André Malraux, Le Havre

Hendrick Terbrugghen made a long trip to Italy to study the region's art and antiquities coming to light. He returned to Utrecht in 1614, inspired and strongly influenced by the work of Caravaggio, which he had seen in Rome and possibly in Naples. In the years that followed he emerged as the most gifted and original of the Dutch Caravaggists.

The present painting depicts the episode recounted by Luke (5:27-29). The composition, in reverse, is based directly on Caravaggio's painting in the Contarelli Chapel in San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome.

Terbrugghen returned to this subject in 1621. In this version he moves the figures closer to the picture plane, presenting them not full but half-length, and reducing their number from eight to six.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.