|Courtesy of www.Titian.org|
The subject of this painting is taken from the New Testament. The Pharisees ask Christ whether it is right to pay tax to the Romans. Christ, sensing the trap, asks whose likeness and name
are on the coinage: 'They say unto him, Caesar's. Then he saith unto them, render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's'.
A close look at the painting, Christ's finger pointing upwards recalls Leonardo da Vinci's St John the Baptist, who points upwards with one hand while gesturing to himself with the other. his gesture seems to convey the meaning of the mystical phrase: "As above, so below", in other words as above, so in my body, the macrocosm reflected in the microcosm. In another version of The Tribute Money, Titian signed his name on the collar of the Pharisee thereby clearly identifying with Christ's questioners.