Marinus van Reymerswale: The Lawyer’s Office (1545)

(New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, USA)

A painting by the Dutch artist Marinus van Reymerswaele (1490-1546). Scenes like these were satirical paintings: the greedy lawyer and a farmer who keep on litigating (even in the 16th century lawyers had a bad reputation). In this case the painting refers to a real case. The paper hanging on the wall in the background refers to an actual lawsuit which begun in 1526 but was not resolved until 1538 by which time the property in dispute had been destroyed by storms. The 'Lawyer’s Office-scene' was very popular in the 16th century, this painting is from 1545.