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The Things That Are Caesar's

1943 Claude Buck Born: New York, New York 1890 Died: Santa Barbara, California 1974 oil on fiberboard and oil on wood of integral frame 30 7/8 x 49 in. (78.4 x 124.5 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Claude Buck 1983.46.8 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 39A


Luce Center Label

Claude Buck created many images inspired by literature, poetry, and the Bible. This painting is based on a quote from Matthew 22: When a group of spies asked Jesus whether it was lawful to pay taxes, he replied, "Give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." Here, Buck painted objects that evoke war, including a gun, artillery shell, helmet, and knife. He was disgusted by the events of World War II and painted this image to show that conflict and human cruelty are the responsibility of the "Caesars" of the modern world.

Keywords

Allegory - civic - war

Object - other - money

Religion - Christianity

Still life - weapon - gun

Still life - written matter - book

painting

paint - oil

fiberboard

wood

About Claude Buck

Born: New York, New York 1890 Died: Santa Barbara, California 1974

More works in the collection by
Claude Buck