The Tribute Money, Masaccio

Masaccio was born around 1401 and represented a return to the Florentine style of Giotto following what was a brief revolt to this style in the immediate aftermath of the Black Death of 1348.
'Tribute Money', a fresco painted around 1427, as one of Masaccio's later works, displays his full array of talents, including his enthusiasm for mathematics and geometry (shown by the building on the right in particular), and was a private commission for the Brancacci family's funerary Chapel in Florence.
The image, part of a large fresco cycle, stands 255cm tall and 598cm wide, and has been restored a number of times over the years to make it the powerful and colourful image it now is. The painting is most commonly seen as a continuous narrative linked by the three figures of St. Peter, Christ and the tax collector, rather than an iconic image for example.
The story of the image is taken from the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament and the central part of the painting shows what happens when the tax collector asks Christ to pay his dues, which Christ refuses as a point of principle. To the left of the image as indicated by Jesus' outstretched arm is Peter catching and opening the fish and finding the coin, and to the right as the tax collector points is Peter handing the coin, which is actually worth twice the required tax, to the tax collector.
Throughout the image there are a number of classical features, as much adored by the Florentines at the time, such as the arches on the right, the robes fastened over one shoulder and perhaps more subtly the semi-circular arrangement of both Christ and his disciples, which is reminiscent of the ancient roman symposiums, as well as the circular nature of the story, as followed clockwise from the centre.
The features of the characters in the image are to a large extent stylised, particularly the distinctly Romanesque profile of the disciple who appears twice


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