Instytut Historii Sztuki <Posen> [Hrsg.]
Artium Quaestiones — 18.2007

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the youth I analyze with reference to almost all the elements of the painting: the
figures, the stream of light, and the objects, such as the window in the middle, the
tablet edge, or the edge of the wab in the background. As regards the window,
I stress the dark outline of the cross which can be seen in the light coming in
through it. On the painting's surface, the pointing hand of Christ both "carries" and
upholds this "cross". This relation becomes a visual synonym of the fate of those who
have been called. ("Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any mow will come after me,
let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. ... And he that taketh not
his cross and followeth after me, is not worthy of me." MY 16, 24; 18, 38) In the con-
text of the relationship of Caravaggio's painting and the C/wcz/Adon o/* Rumów,
I compare the figurę of the youth to that of Haman.
The complexity of the relationship between the Crocz/zAzon o/* Romazz and
TAe CaAkzzg' o/ Aozzzi MaMAezu enables one to read the interpictorial dialog as a
comparison of the fate of Haman and Matthew. Both Haman and Levi were sinners
detested by the Chosen People. In both paintings, their common fate is the cross. The
comparison of the works of Michelangelo and Caravaggio demonstrates a difference
in the attitude toward sinners in the Old and New Testament. After Haman had be-
en executed, Queen Esther turned to her husband with another request. When the
King said, "Now what is thy petition?", Esther responded, "If it please the king, let it
be granted to the Jews to do to morrow unto the day's decree, and let Haman's ten
sons be hanged upon the gallows." (AR 9, 12-14). Then the sense of the calling of
Levi is conveyed by the answer of Jesus to the question why he communicated with
"publicans and sinners": "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are
sick... I will have mercy and not sacrifice: for I am not come to cali the righteous, but
sinners to repentance." (Mi 9, 12-12; MA 2, 17) Speaking about the necessity of
following by the cross, Jesus continued as follows, "For the Son of Man will come in
his Father's Glory and his Angels, and return unto each according to his works."
Thus, Caravaggio's painting completes with its message the meaning implied by the
relationship among the Crzzcz/Rzozz o/Rawzazz, the figurę of Jonah, and the Azzza/
Jzzbgwzezzi in the painting by Michelangelo: how the attitude toward sinners changes
in the perspective of the finał judgment by Cod.
Consequently, the message of TAe Cafhzzg o/Razzzi MaRAeza points to the tradi-
tion of art which constitutes its context. Caravaggio's work makes it elear that paint-
ings always exist because of other paintings and refer to one another. At the same
time, the possibility to interpret the key gestures of Christ and the bearded man as
irreducible to the meanings of their counterparts in the work of Michelangelo (no
matter which analytical option one takes, the hand of the bearded man makes a
different gesture than that of Ahasuerus) makes one take into consideration a claim
that the work always denies its origin and acquires its own meaning. The answer to
the question, "Whom is the bearded man pointing at," may be found as identical with
the externalization of the painting's surface by the elements of the represented
world. This externalization is a causally structured process of vision. The figurę that
by the reference between representation and surface seems particularly prominent is
the youth bending over the table.
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