Bert Olivier is Professor of Philosophy at NMMU in Port Elizabeth. He writes about the painting The Calling of St Matthew by Caravaggio. I know so little about art that I find interpretations fascinating - all about the light, the pointing fingers, the clothes.
But I would argue that, understood in this way,this divide denotes the relevant chasm in exclusively economic-material terms, and to my mind this is not the most significant divide in question. What Jesus’ gesture towards Matthew represents on a universal metaphorical level — to be sure, instantiated differently in every culture — is something more important, captured powerfully by the implication of a possible qualitative leap on Matthew’s part, should he rise to the occasion of his “calling”, namely the possibility on the part of every person living in this time of conspicuous consumption, of making a similar qualitative leap from crass materialism to a discovery of “meaning” that vastly surpasses it.
Sunday, November 06, 2011
Bert Olivier, Caravaggio and money
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