Additionally, in order to win the
hearts and minds of the masses, artists should include representations of “the
masses” into their religious narratives. Narcissistic identification was very
important. If viewers could be that person in the painting, then those
religious miracles could just as easily happen to them. A key proponent of
representing the naked reality with narcissistic identification was
Caravaggio. This artist’s Calling of St. Matthew, 1596, and Entombment
of Christ, 1604, even though representing New Testament narratives (Christ,
Mary, and other followers), lack Neoplatonic idealism.
FIRST, PLACE ABOVE THE CRUCIFIXION, THE OTHER IMAGE TITLED “ CARAVAGGIO
THEN CROP THE SIDES OF THE CRICIFIXION
In the Calling
of St. Matthew, Christ is walking down a sidewalk recruiting His apostles.
Christ, at far right and only distinguished by a faint golden line suggesting
a halo, is depicted as ethnically correct, typically Roman, yet dressed in an
amorphous toga-like garment. The other figures are equally realistic and also
dressed in contemporary clothing (dress).
In the other image of the Entombment of Christ, Christ is correctly
depicted as a limp corpse with no muscle tension. St. John, whose arms wrap
around His back, by mistake places his fingers into Christ’s wound and
stretches the flesh in the process. The other figures, including the three
Marys, are similarly recorded in an almost photo-realistic manner.
friends of the artist asked why he did not follow the idealized traditions of
Michelangelo and Raphael, Caravaggio pointed outside to the sidewalk and
responded that nature had provided him with enough models and he need not
look to other artists for inspiration. The blank black background and
spotlight effect on the models further emphasizes the focus on reality. The
power of the representation and strength of the narcissistic identification
by the average person, made Caravaggio’s style popular throughout Europe for
centuries to come.