National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.: Widener Collection

This venerable Saint Matthew, painted on wood, probably in 1661 by a follower of Rembrandt van Rijn, conveys the authority appropriate to a biographer of Jesus. Like Luke’s Gospel, the Gospel of Matthew appears to be an expanded version of Jesus’ life, based on Mark’s account and on the lost source known as “Q.” Following the tradition of Greco-Roman biography, Matthew used a strictly chronological framework into which he inserted five of Jesus’ “sermons” (Matthew 5–7, 10, 13, 18 and 24–25).