For a painter of such stratospheric standards as Caravaggio, it is impossible to be definitive in naming his “masterpiece.” However, the “Calling of St. Matthew” ★★, in the far-left chapel of Rome’s French church, has to be a candidate. The panel dramatizes the moment Jesus and Peter “called” the customs officer to join them, in Caravaggio’s distinct chiaroscuro (extreme light and shade) style. Around the same time (1599–1602) Caravaggio also painted the other two St. Matthew panels in the Capella Contarelli—including one depicting the saint’s martyrdom. Other highlights inside include Domenichino’s masterful “Histories of Saint Cecilia” fresco cycle.
- Frommer's Staff