"The Tribute Money" by Peter Paul Rubens
This is a photograph of the original 1612 painting, "The Tribute Money", by the famed Flemish Baroque artist Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). This great masterpiece is currently part of the permanent collection at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
According to the Gospels, when Jesus entered Jerusalem, a group of Pharisees tried to entrap Him. They went to Jesus and asked provocative questions that if answered could land him in jail. One of them asked if taxes should be paid to Rome. Jesus pointed to God with one hand and to Caesar with the other and said, 'Render onto Caesar what is his and to God what is His.' The Pharisees were shocked by such a wise answer.
Rubens was one of the great Baroque painters and is famous for his realism and natural color. Many other painters copied his style and eventually a school of painters established themselves as 'colorists'. A divide between the colorists and 'classicists' (followers of Nicolas Poussin, Gallery 6) lasted for several generations. -The 'tribute money' theme arose when the Catholic Church was under attack by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V around the time of the Sack of Rome (1527)