Render Unto Caesar

WAG 9062


Charles Spencelayh specialised in paintings of older men in simple rooms, surrounded by their possessions. This drawing is probably a sketch for an oil painting of the same name, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1928. The title refers to a phrase attributed to Jesus in the Bible, which is depicted in the painting behind the man: 'Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's'. It has been interpreted as an invocation to pay taxes (although this reading is not unanimous) - the man in the scene has just opened his tax return.