Page 28: Expulsion in the Brancacci Chapel, Florence (1420s)
I enter this topic through one of the most famous artworks of the early Italian Renaissance: the painting by Masaccio of the Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.
Page 28: Brancacci Chapel (1420s)
In its original setting in Florence, the painting is frescoed on the top half of one of the pilasters (decorative columns) that frame the entrance into the private chapel of the Brancacci family in the transept of the church of the monastic order of the Carmelites: the church of Santa Maria del Carmine.
Page 28: Temptation of Adam and Eve, Brancacci Chapel
Frescoed on the corresponding top half of the opposite pilaster is the scene of the Temptation of Adam and Eve before the Fall, painted by Masolino.
Page 29: Paying the Temple Tax
Attentive viewers will note soon enough that the episodes selected for this cycle notably relate to money. Peter pays the temple tax with a coin found in a fish’s mouth (Matthew 17:24-27).
Page 29: Peter heals the lame man
Peter heals the crippled man begging for alms, with the word, “Gold and silver have I none, but what I have I give to you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk” (Acts 3:1-10).
Page 29: Peter giving alms
Ananias keels over dead as Peter rebukes him for having deceptively held back some of the money gained by the sale of a field (Acts 4:34 - 5:11).
Page 29: Peter, Simon Magus, Nero
Peter is challenged to a power contest in front of Nero by Simon the magician, the man who had offered Peter money for the power to perform miracles granted by the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:9-24).
Page 29: Peter in prison, and released from prison
The obvious parallelism in the two scenes on the same pilasters below the Temptation and Expulsion would further suggest such a pattern of design. In fact, frescoed on the lower halves of the entrance columns are two episodes involving Peter in prison. Below the Temptation is the scene of an angel leading Peter out through an arched doorway of a building with barred windows. e scene is drawn from the episode recounted in Acts 12:5–9 of Peter’s miraculous delivery from the prison in Jerusalem where he had been placed under heavy guard by King Herod.
Page 30: Peter in prison, below the Expulsion
Directly opposite the scene of Peter’s liberation from prison is another scene in which Peter is clearly in prison, in conversation with the figure standing outside the barred window (who turns out to be Paul).