Shown in the midst of divine inspiration, Saint Matthew, one of the four Evangelists, receives direct transmission of the Word of God from an angel. Pieter Lastman gives Saint Matthew a sense of gravity and weight both physical and symbolic by deeply modeling his substantial form and placing his bare foot upon a stone slab. A Dutch painter working a generation after Hendrik Goltzius and Joachim Wtewael, Lastman played a role in shifting the focus of Dutch art from Mannerist artifice to clarity of both form and narrative. His paint handling reveals brushstrokes on the surface of the painting, signaling a simultaneous shift to more expressive painting methods that draw attention to the artist’s hand.
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