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Analysis of The Tribute Money Painting - Essay Example

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The author of the essay describes “The Tribute Money”, a beautiful and highly important painting, and one of the most important of the entire Renaissance. It was composed at the beginning of the 15th century by Masolino as part of the Italian Renaissance.    …
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Analysis of The Tribute Money Painting
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Download file to see previous pages The artist encodes very little information about what is going on in the story – there is an obvious depiction of Jesus featured prominently in the center, who is surrounded by his apostles (as shown by their halos). But indications of who is very small and very subtle – many of the apostles look very similar to each other. Similarly, there is no obvious indication of exactly what is going on. The architecture and the actions of the people on the margins of the painting tell the story, while the rest is simply a portrait of important people in Christianity. All of this speaks to a highly religious society where the viewer would be expected to be highly literate in the story, where this painting works both as a retelling and reinforcement of a story that the public would already know. The composition of the wardrobes in this painting also give interesting hints about the Italian culture’s understanding of the timing and role of religion in their society. The dress is a mix of different types of clothing – Jesus and the apostles wear what is essentially a Roman toga – yet the person in the front right of the composition wears a clearly Italian tunic, with a tight set of leggings under a lose belted garment. The architecture likewise bears resemblances to both Roman architectures with round arches and renaissance architecture (78). This mixing of contemporary and ancient probably speaks to a variety of things. Firstly, it could simply speak to the Renaissance ideals of harkening back to Rome – the people in the renaissance described themselves as being part of a rebirth of Roman ideology, technology, and culture, and actively rejected and insulted the Middle Ages (3). So this mixing of ancient Rome and modern Italy could be simply a representation of Renaissance sensibilities – as the natural successors to ancient Rome in culture and history, it is natural to mix the two together and represent them as very chronologically close. This representation could mean something different, however, if given a religious interpretation.      ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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