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 MATTHEW”

 

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.

When 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.