|Saint Matthew, Apostle
Representations of the Evangelists as a group are common in churches before the late 20th century. In these grouped images, St. Matthew's attribute is always a young man or angel (example). When he is portrayed alone the most common attribute is a book, though the angel may also be in attendance (example). He is often shown in the act of writing his Gospel, as at left, sometimes apparently taking dictation from the angel (example).
St. Matthew's statue in the Lateran has him reading the book while he treads a bag of money underfoot. This is because he was engaged in his trade as a moneychanger when Jesus called him. The money is also an important symbolic factor in Caravaggio's painting of the moment when he was called.
In a Mexican portrait of the19th century he carries the axe with which he was martyred.
Feast day: September 21
At left, 12th century Spanish sculpture
14th century Italian triptychAlso see: