In the church you can see statues and paintings of national heroes and saints such as Charlemagne, King Clovis, Saint Clotilde and more.
The church was built between 1518 and 1589. In 1527 the construction was put on hold due to a crisis in Rome, but it was eventually completed by the Queen of France Caterina de Medici and her generous financial aid.
In the three works on the walls of the church painted between 1598 and 1601, you will learn about the life of Saint Matteo. Above the altar is the work "The Muse of St. Matthew" and on the wall you can see the "Martyrdom of St. Matthew."
The works are characterized by many colors, detailed realism, a play between light and shadow which was innovative at the time. These artworks also created some resistance, for church leaders thought that the realism of the works indicated a lack of respect for the religion.
Apart from Caravaggio, you can also see works by other artists: Cavalier d'Arpino and more.
A recommended continuation route from the church is a visit to the famous square of Rome, Piazza Navona, the bustling square of the city.
Caravaggio was a man of many components and faces. On the one hand he was a violent character, a chronic drinker and drunk, who eventually murdered someone. However on the other hand, he was one of the greatest artists, a man of strong religious faith, whose paintings express an unprecedented emotion, a painter of incredibly precise detail, whose groundbreaking art depicted biblical scenes and stories of Christian saints drawn in the form of ordinary people.
Caravaggio painted his paintings on large, impressive canvases. The church did not really like his paintings, especially the religious paintings. However, wealthy Italians loved and acquired his powerful and polished paintings, which showed a great deal of passion.
In his paintings "The Call to Matthew" and the "Crucifixion of St. Peter," one can see its prominent characteristics: sharp realism, games and contrasts of light and shadow, as well as the genius of using color and placing figures and objects in space. Caravaggio chose carefully what details to emphasize in the light in his paintings and unique models.
Although he died in 1610 and at the young age of 39 years old, his influence on the history of art is enormous. Not many painters have influenced, for so long, the art of painting. Many artists have been influenced by him. Catholic painters from Utrecht in the Netherlands, who in the 17th century went to study in Rome and were known as "Caravagists of Utrecht", admired him along with the great masters such as Rubens, Vermeer, Velazquez and Rembrandt.
In 1606, at the height of his career in Rome, Caravaggio was involved in a fight and killed a man. He ran quickly to found a new patron in Naples and later in Malta. Two years later, he was thrown out of there as well because of his involvements in more fights. After Malta he moved to Sicily and his paintings, like his life, became gradually darker and more shadowed. His moods worsened, he even used a sword to slash paintings that received negative feedback.
The researchers estimate that when he returned to Naples, he was apparently the victim of an attack that injured him and caused severe infection. He must have tried to return to Tuscany, in order to gain forgiveness for his crimes in Rome. It is not clear exactly when and where his life was abruptly put to an end.
It is not only the life story of the "killer painter" that caused great controversy and curiosity; his death was also a mystery. His turbulent character, evident in his paintings, often entangled him in fights, and in the end, perhaps led to his death.
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, named after his hometown in Italy, was considered the pioneer of the baroque style which developed in Europe in the period following his death. He was a genius who was ahead of his time and even hundreds of years after his death. He continued to influence great painters, but inside was a man who was haunted, violent, psychotic, perverse and complicated.