Updated March 28th, 2024 at 21:32 IST

Michelangelo Caravaggi's Most Celebrated Artworks: The Calling of Saint Matthew To Medusa

Immerse yourself in the life-like marvels by Italian artist Michelangelo, who captured the moment when Jesus Christ summoned Matthew to be his disciple.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio | Image:Pexels

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, an iconic Italian painter of the late 16th and early 17th centuries, revolutionised the art world with his ability to breathe life into his paintings through his mastery in employing chiaroscuro, the technique of using light and shadow, which imparted his works with hightened intensity, drama, and realism. Caravaggio’s canvases, depicting religious and mythological narratives, continue to resonate with audiences, inviting them into the vividly emotional and tangible realms he created. Despite a perilous personal life, Caravaggio’s legacy extends through his artistic innovations and at times emotionally charged compositions. Highlighted below are some of his iconic works that stand testament to his genius.

The Calling of Saint Matthew

In this defining work, Caravaggio captures the transformative moment when Jesus Christ summons Matthew to discipleship. The painting is renowned for its divine illumination, spotlighting the scene and highlighting Matthew’s initial hesitance and moment of spiritual awakening. The interplay of light and darkness symbolises the impending change in Matthew’s path, drawing viewers into the biblical tale.

Image credit: Pexels 
Image credit: Pexels 

Judith Beheading Holofernes

This depiction of Judith slaying the Assyrian general Holofernes is a reminder of Caravaggio’s ability to blend beauty with brutality. The painting’s raw realism and depiction of violence evoke a spectrum of emotions, while the dramatic chiaroscuro intensifies the scene’s tension.

The Young Sick Bacchus

Believed to be one of Caravaggio’s early self-portraits, The Young Sick Bacchus exudes a sense of vulnerability and tenderness. The painting’s portrayal of a frail Bacchus, coupled with the artist’s use of light on his pallid skin, fosters a connection with the viewer, invoking sympathy for the ailing deity.

Image credit: Pexels
Image credit: Pexels


Caravaggio’s rendition of the mythological Medusa is both fascinating and unsettling. The painting captures Medusa’s agony and the grotesque beauty of her snake-entwined head with remarkable realism, enhanced by strategic lighting, instilling a mix of fear and intrigue.

David with the Head of Goliath

This compelling artwork illustrates the biblical hero David, post his victory over Goliath, conveying a narrative of triumph and introspection. David’s subdued expression and the detailed realism of the scene underscore Caravaggio’s adeptness at portraying human emotion and the complexities of victory.


Published March 28th, 2024 at 21:32 IST