Masaccio’s painting titled “Distribution of Alms and Death of Ananias” is part of a series of frescoes showcasing Saint Peter’s life. The painting depicts Saint Peter distributing alms to the poor while the death of Ananias occurs simultaneously in the same setting of great solemnity. With classical composition and great skill, Masaccio brings together the two moments of the story in the painting.
The attention to detail in the painting is remarkable. In the center of the painting, a woman is depicted holding a child while a man kneels behind her in a begging position. This scene represents the act of Saint Peter generously distributing alms to the needy. At the same time, on the left side of the painting, Ananias is seen falling over and dying in front of another man. The man standing next to Ananias is portrayed with a look of shock on his face. This scene represents the consequence of Ananias lying to Saint Peter about his wealth while donating to the church.
Overall, Masaccio’s painting is a masterpiece signifying the importance of Saint Peter’s moral virtues and actions. The painting is located in the Cappella Brancacci in Florence, Italy, and has attracted art enthusiasts from around the world. Its classical composition and attention to detail remain a hallmark of the Renaissance period.