The Money Changer and His Wife

“The Money Changer and His Wife” by Quentin Matsys depicts a guy weighing the jewels and also pieces of yellow at a table. His mam sits next to him, distract from she book.

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The couple is no dressed as members that the nobility yet rather as well-to-do citizens of Antwerp, where the painting was made.

At the time, Antwerp had actually grown in population with the flow of numerous southern immigrant fleeing the Spanish Inquisition.

There to be a need for money-changers and also moneylenders among this worldwide community, together international business was increasing in the harbor city.

The wife is turning a web page in the religious devotion publication to illustrate the Virgin and also Child.

Quentin Matsys has actually incorporated many details in the background showing the life the a flourishing burgher of Antwerp.

The shelf contains a fruit, books and manuscripts, a decorated puter plate, and also trade tools. In ~ the optimal right through the open up door, we have the right to see two next-door neighbors gossiping. In the foreground are the standard weights and their specially made container.

On the bottom left is a decorated glass carafe v a lid and also metal trimmings. In the center is a mirror showing the window.

The screen outside is presented in fascinating detail, and there is also a enjoy of the artist. By painting his photo reflected in the mirror, Massys echos this device’s usage by january van Eyck in The Arnolfini marital relationship of 1434.

Matsys displays his significant skill as a portrait painter in this 1514 oil on panel painting. He has skillfully displayed his ability to catch the highly an individual and individual features that reflect his realism technique.

While this painting have the right to be delighted in as a masterpiece that art, depicting an emerging respectable occupation, most art historians see moral and satirical meanings.

If this painting is a moral work, that is condemning avarice and exalting honesty. This meaning is symbolized through the Christian signs of the book with Virgin and also Child and the scales representative of the last Judgment.

The snuffed-out candle and also the fruit top top the shelf space an allusion to initial sin and also death symbols. The carafe the water and the rosary hanging native the shelf indicate faith and purity.

The shiny gold pearls space a price of lust, and also the jewelry has distracted the wife from her spiritual reading. Have the objects in the lift been closely chosen to strengthen the work’s ethical message?


The city the Antwerp, at the moment of this painting, was growing in importance. This expansion was due to the silting-up of the Zwin, a tidal inlet, which caused the decline of Bruges as it lost access to the north Sea.

At the end of the 15th century, most foreign trading residences transferred indigenous Bruges to Antwerp. Antwerp came to be the sugar resources of Europe, importing the raw commodity indigenous Portuguese and also Spanish plantations.

The city attracted Italian and also German sugar refiners by 1550 and also shipped your refined assets to Germany, specifically Cologne.

Moneylenders and also financiers occurred a significant new business lending money almost everywhere Europe, consisting of the English federal government in 1544–1574.

London bankers to be too little to run on the scale, and also Antwerp had a highly efficient bourse the attracted affluent bankers from about Europe. After the 1570s, the city’s banking business declined, and England finished its get loan in Antwerp in 1574.

Money Changer

A money changer was a human whose service is the exchange that coins or money of one nation for the of another.

This profession was a predecessor of contemporary banking. During the Middle eras in Europe, plenty of cities and towns approve their very own coins, frequently carrying a ruler’s face, such as the local baron or bishop.

When outsiders, especially traveling merchants, visited towns for a industry fair, exchanging foreign coins for local ones at neighborhood money changers came to be necessary.

Money changers would certainly assess a foreign coin for its type, wear, and tear, and also validity, then expropriate it as a deposit, recording its worth in local currency. The merchant could then withdraw the money in local currency to command a trade.

Quentin Matsys

Quentin Massys (1466–1530) was a Flemish painter in the at an early stage Netherlandish tradition and also the Antwerp college founder.

Matsys was energetic in Antwerp because that over 20 years, creating plenty of works with spiritual roots and also satirical tendencies.

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“The Moneylender and his Wife” is among his most famed works and very early example that the genre painting which would prosper in Flanders and the north Netherlands over the 16th century.

The Money Changer and also His Wife

Title: The Money Changer and His WifeArtist: Quentin MatsysYear: 1514Material: Oil on panelDimensions: Height: 70.5 centimeter (27.7 ″); Width: 67 cm (26.3 ″)

Quentin Matsys

Artist: Quentin MatsysDutch: Quinten MatsijsBorn: 1466, Leuven, BelgiumDied: 1530 (aged 64), AntwerpNationality: Flemish (Belgian)Movement Antwerp SchoolNotable works:

The money changer v his mam by Quentin Metsys – The hidden Symbols in the Arts