More about The Tribute Money
There are a couple of stories associated with the juicy New Testament topic of “tribute money” (which is Bible speak for “taxes”).
In one case, Christ and his posse were confronted by a Roman tax collector, who demanded they pay their taxes. Obviously, being in an obscure religious cult, they didn’t have any money. But, always a proponent of social welfare, Christ instructed Peter to go fishing in a nearby lake. In the mouth of the first fish he caught, Peter found a four-drachma coin, which Jesus and the apostles offered up to appease The Man. Ummmm, can I get a visit from Jesus when rent is due? In 1618, Rubens’s studio produced a different painting, St. Peter Finding the Tribute Money, which specifically illustrates the slimy moment when the coin is procured.
The second story is more about putting saucy tax collectors in their place, which is likely what’s happening in this particular scene. The Pharisees, always out to get Jesus, thought they could trick him into disparaging the emperor by asking Jesus if he thinks it’s moral to pay taxes to Caesar. Jesus is onto them, so he’s like, “Whose face is on that coin you’ve got?” And they’re like, “Um, Caesar’s?” And Jesus is like, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” He basically means, “God has no use for your dirty money. Don’t. Even.” So sassy, that Jesus!
Rubens tended to paint mythical and biblical subject matter, but he wasn’t the only artist to render The Tribute Money. Masaccio and Titian did their own (perhaps better known) versions as well in 1427 and 1516, respectively. So by 1612, The Tribute Money was due for a Flemish Baroque makeover, Rubens style.
- “17th Century Oil Painting after Peter Paul Rubens, ‘St. Peter Finding the Tribute Money.’” Worthington Galleries. Accessed September 30, 2017. https://worthingtongalleries.com/shop/after-rubens-st-peter-finding-the…
- Abrahams, Simon. “Titian’s The Tribute Money (1560-8).” Every Painter Paints Himself. April 22, 2011. Accessed September 30, 2017. http://www.everypainterpaintshimself.com/article/titians_the_tribute_mo…
- “Masaccio’s Tribute Money.” Lumen. Accessed August 25, 2017. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/zeliart102/chapter/masaccios-tribute-…
- “The Tribute Money 1612.” ArtStack. Accessed August 25, 2017. https://theartstack.com/artist/peter-paul-rubens/tribute-money-1612
Here is what Wikipedia says about The Tribute Money (Rubens)
The Tribute Money is a 1612-1614 painting by Peter Paul Rubens, which has been in the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco since 1944. It illustrates the Biblical account of Christ and the tribute money.
Check out the full Wikipedia article about The Tribute Money (Rubens)
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I love Rubenesque woman!
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