Marinus van Reymerswaele: The moneychanger and his wife (Prado-version, 1539)

(Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain)

A painting by the Dutch artist Marinus van Reymerswaele (1490-1546). This painting is 1 of the 6 nearly identical versions attributed to Reymerswaele. The subject itself was very popular in the 16th century: moneychangers and bankers were often associated with greed and usury. Besides the moralistic message, the painting offers a nice view of the office of a moneychanger. In the 16th century there were a lot of different currency in circulation (in the Netherlands for example there were 200 different coins). Merchants who traveled a lot changed their own currency in cities to the local currency, in another painting of this type there is a board with the exchange rate. The man, with an for this period old fashioned chaperon, is weighing coins on a scale while his wife is looking with an account book. Painting from 1539.