This is one of the outstanding frescoes by Masaccio. Its plot is unusual – the description of scenes from the New Testament parable about the tax collector that is rarely found in painting. The parable in question is included only in the Gospel of Matthew. Apostle Matthew, as it is known, himself was a publican, before he became one of the disciples of Christ.
The parable tells about a Roman tax collector who collected money from all Jews for the restoration of the Jerusalem temple. When the tax collector stepped up to Christ, he refused to pay the tax but, in order not to aggravate the relationship,
In his fresco, Masaccio portrays St. Peter three times: in the center, next to Christ, talking to the tax collector, to the left, taking the coin from the mouth of the fish, and to the right, the tax collector giving it away. Such a composition was widespread in the days of Masaccio – the paintings were called “continuous stories.”