This painting was commissioned by the cardinal Francesco del Monte. It was painted between 1599 and 1600 for the chapel of San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome. It's an oil on canvas painting with a size of 322x340cm.
The painting represents Christ calling Matthew, who is sitting in the tax office with other people. On the right we can see Christ pointing at Matthew, and on the left we can see a group of people, among which Matthew is sitting.
Colour is predominant over the drawing and the landscape is secondary. People in the painting are dressed like in the 17th century, but this is a Bible story. Colours are warm and they have textures of velvets and soft fur. The painter has divided into two different parts one on the right in a vertical rectangular way and the other one on the left in a horizontal block way.
The subject is biblical. Caravaggio represented the calling of Saint Matthew: according to Matthew's Gospel. Caravaggio took inspiration from the Creation of Adam of Michelangelo.
We can observe many of the Baroque features on this painting: use of oil painting, predominance of colour over drawing, use of warm colours, contrast of light and shadow, realism, movement, foreshortened figures, asymmetry …
This painting belongs to a collection of the life of Saint Matthew: The Inspiration of Saint Matthew by Caravaggio and The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew by Caravaggio. The painting is now in the chapel of San Luigi dei Francesiin the city of Florence.
Other artists painted the same theme painting: Hendrick ter Burgghen and Bernardo Strozzi.