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The Tribute Money

Artist: Strozzi, Bernardo
(Genoa 1581 – 1644 Venice)

Date: between 1630 and 1635
Medium: oil on canvas
Dimensions: 158 x 225 cm
Classification: paintings
Acquisition Credit: purchased, Esterházy Collection, 1871
Inventory Number: 614
Department: Old Master Paintings

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The Tribute Money

Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's," Jesus replied to the Pharisees, who wanted to trick him into a subversive answer and asked him: "Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?" (Matthew 22: 21 and 17) In this lively composition, painted after 1631, Strozzi contrasts Christ's humble wisdom to the malicious curiosity of his opponents ready to retort. The Pharisee holding the coin seems to step into the picture from the viewer's space, and the role of the little boy looking out is also to involve the viewer. The plebeian types and the dramatic handling of light on the one hand and full-blooded painterliness on the other prove that Caravaggio, Rubens and Venetian Cinquecento all played equally important roles in the development of Strozzi's idiosyncratic style."