The Tribute Money (1560 – 1568) by Titian

The Tribute Money - Titian - 1560 - 1568

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Tribute Money
Date1560 - 1568
Dimensions109.2 x 101.6 cm
Art MovementMannerism (Late Renaissance)

About The Tribute Money

The artwork titled “The Tribute Money,” attributed to the eminent artist Titian, was created during the period of 1560 to 1568. This piece is an oil painting on canvas, with dimensions measuring approximately 109.2 by 101.6 centimeters. As a representation of the Mannerism movement within the Late Renaissance, the piece falls into the category of religious paintings and reflects the evolving aesthetics and theological themes of that era.

“The Tribute Money” captures a compelling religious narrative through Titian’s masterful use of oil paint. The central figure, presumed to be that of Jesus Christ, is clad in a red garment with a flowing blue cloak, a conventional depiction of his iconographic dress. His presence is commanding yet serene, and he appears to be engaged in an impactful dialogue with the figures surrounding him. To his side is an older man with a beard, dressed in earth tones, who looks intently up at Christ, seemingly in the midst of a conversation or inquiry.

As typical of Mannerist works, there is a certain degree of artificiality to the composition, with elongated figures and an emphasis on elegance and sophistication over the more balanced and harmonious proportions of the High Renaissance. The artworks’s colors are rich and vibrant, contrasting the warm tones with the coolness of the blues in a way that adds depth and complexity to the scene. The rendering of textiles and textures showcases Titian’s skill in capturing the interplay of light and shadow, contributing to the three-dimensional effect on a two-dimensional surface.

Titian’s brushwork is loose and expressive, which suggests movement and a sense of immediacy, drawing the viewer into the moment depicted. This dynamism combined with the emotional depth of the figures’ expressions characterizes the Mannerist style’s embracing of subjective experience and the heightened drama of religious scenes. Although the scene is cropped and focuses primarily on the interaction between Jesus and the bearded man, the presence of additional figures whose faces we cannot fully see adds to the sense of a larger story unfolding beyond the frame, inviting contemplation of the narrative’s broader context.

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