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The City Treasurer and his Wife or The Money Changer and his Wife
Reymerswale, Marinus van
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Reymerswale, Marinus van

Reimerswaal (Netherlands), 1489 - Goes (Netherlands), 1546

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The City Treasurer and his Wife or The Money Changer and his Wife

1538. Oil on panel.
On display elsewhere

As part of the Royal Collection, the City Treasurer and his Wife (the so-called Money Changer and his Wife) is one of the few paintings by Marinus in Spain that can be traced to the eighteenth century, and one which played a decisive role in the rediscovery of the painter’s work. However, when it was first recorded in the collection of Isabel Farnesio in 1746 it was attributed to Lucas de Olanda (Lucas van Leyden, 1494-1533). A first attempt to decipher the signature was made in 1843, but it was only twenty years later that it was connected with Marinus van Reymerswale, the painter mentioned by Carel van Mander in 1604. By the eighteenth century, it was described as the representation of Avarice by Antonio Ponz, who interpreted it as an allegorical depiction of that capital sin.

The outlandish headdresses further underscored the negative interpretation of the painting in the past. Whereas they distanced the figures from their contemporary viewers, the coins on the table, which came from different parts of Western Europe, did not. Minted at different times, they highlight the growing importance of the large silver coins that transformed the international monetary market of the sixteenth century. Identifiable are the ten cruzados of Manuel I of Portugal; the four excelentes of the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand II of Aragón and Isabella I of Castile, minted in Segovia; the French écu d’or de soleil, which was used during the reigns of Charles VIII and Louis XII; the Bohemian silver Joachimsthaler with the double-tailed lion on its reverse; and the Snaphaan, the first large silver coin issued in the Netherlands in 1508 by Charles II of Egmond, Duke of Guelders. They can be understood as an allusion to economic powers expressed through a monetary policy that was negotiated on the level of centralised governments but had a real effect on local prices and wages. The account book contains a list of life annuities given in the local unit of account, the papers on the shelf another only partly readable record of annuities, which also appears in the St Petersburg City Treasurer (so-called Two Tax Collectors) (inv. 423). Keith Moxey suggested that the focus on these annuity payments would make the man verifying the weight of the coins a city agent or treasurer, and that the painting may have been intended for an audience familiar with capital investment. The contents of the inscriptions allow for a more precise identification of the man weighing coins as a city treasurer, who would then also have been responsible for the verification of the value of foreign currencies.

Technical examination of the painting revealed the use of a tracing to transfer the composition onto the panel. Initially, the woman wore a different headdress with a loose fabric draped underneath her chin and tied next to her temple in an ornamental knot. During the painting process, the design was changed into a cap covered with a white cloth that falls over her shoulders. Neither of the female headdresses was typical in the Netherlands at the time but recall Southern German fashion. Marinus, who was familiar with the prints of Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), most likely copied the accessory from a woodcut by the German artist (Christine Seidel in Marinus. Painter from Reymerswale, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2021, pp. 104-106).


Technical data

Inventory number
Reymerswale, Marinus van
The City Treasurer and his Wife or The Money Changer and his Wife
Height: 79 cm; Width: 107 cm
Royal Collection: first recorded in the inventory of the collection of Isabel Farnesio at the Palacio de La Granja de San Ildefonso, Segovia, in 1746

Bibliography +

Ponz, Antonio, Viage de España: en que se da noticia de las cosas mas apreciables, y dignas de saberse, que hay en ella, X, Atlas, Madrid, 1794; ed. facs. 1972, pp. 140.

Madrazo, Pedro de, Catálogo de los cuadros del Real Museo de Pintura y Escultura, Oficina de Aguado, Impresor de Cámara, Madrid, 1843, pp. 218 nº.978.

Mundler, O, P. Christophsen - Marinus, Journal des beaux arts et de la littérature, 5, 16, 1863, pp. 126-127 [127].

Weale, W.H. James, The misers of Quentin Metsys, Notes and queries, 3, 6, 1864, pp. 374-375 [375].

Madrazo, Pedro de, Catálogo de los cuadros del Museo del Prado de Madrid, Madrid, 1873, pp. 257 nº 1422.

Petit, F, La correspondence, La chronique des arts et de la curiosité, 27, 1879, pp. 216-217.

Hymans, H, Marin le Zelandais, de Romerswael, Bulletin de l’Academie royale des sciences des lettres et
des beaux-arts de Belgique.
, VII, 1884, pp. 211-220 [214].

Cohen, W, Marinus van Roymerswaele in Les Arts anciens de Flandre, II, Brujas, 1906, pp. 153-164 [158].

Mély, F, Les primitifs et leur signature Quinten Matsys et Marinus, Gazette des beaux arts, 40, 1908, pp. 215-227 [222].

Cust, L, Notes on pictures in the Royal collections XXIII. The Misers at Windsor Castle attributed to Quentin Matsys, The Burlington magazine, 20 nº 107, 1912, pp. 252-253 y 256-258 [252].

Mély, F, Les signatures des primitifs: Le banquier et sa femme de Quinten Matsys En: Mélanges offertes a Émile Picot, Paris, 1913, pp. 505-514 [509].

Friedländer, Max J., Die altniederlandische malerei, Paul Cassirer,, 1924, pp. 184 nº 170.

Friedländer, Max J., Die altniederlandische malerei, XII, Paul Cassirer, Berlín, 1935, pp. 184 nº 170.

Hoogewerff, G.J., De Noord-Nederlandsche schilderkunst, IV, Nijhoff, The Hague, 1941-1942, pp. 468.

Van Werveke, H., Aantekening bij de zogenaamde belastingpachters en wisselaars van Marinus van Reymerswael, Gentsche bijdragen tot de kunstgeschiedenis, 1949-1950, pp. 43-58 [44].

Marlier, G, Erasme et la peinture flamande de son temps., Damme, 1954, pp. 242.

Van Puyvelde, L, Un portrait de marchand par Quentin Metsys et les précepteurs d' impôts par Marin van Reymerswale, Revue belge d'archéologie et d'histoire de l'art, 26, 1957, pp. 3-23 [14-15].

Friedländer, Max J., Early netherlandish painting, XII, A.W.Sijthoff, Leyden, 1975, pp. 107 nº 170.

Espinós, Adela; Orihuela, Mercedes y Royo Villanova, Mercedes, ''El Prado disperso''. Cuadros depositados en Madrid. IV. Patrimonio Nacional. Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Boletín del Museo del Prado, II, 1981, pp. 53.

Moxey, K, The criticism of avarice in sixtheenth century netherlandish painting, En: Netherlandish manierism, 1985, pp. 21-22.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990.

Milkers, Anne, Omtrent Marinus van Reymerswaele, Gante, 1990, pp. 182-187 nº 13.

Gewogen of bedrogen: het wegen van geld in the Netherlanden, Leiden, 1994, pp. 17.

Miedema, H, The lives of the illustrious Netherlandish and German painters, from the first edidtion of the Schilder boeck (1603-1604) preceded by the lineage, circumstances and place of birth, life and works of Karel van Mander, painter and poet and like wise his death and burial from the second edition of the second edition of the schilder boeck (1616-1618), I, Davaco,, Doornspijk, 1994, pp. 305.

Silva Maroto, Pilar, Pintura flamenca de los siglos XV y XVI: guía, Museo del Prado, Aldeasa, Madrid, 2001, pp. 208,209.

Ackroyd et al., "The two tax-gatherers" by Marinus van Reymerswale: Original and Replica, National Gallery Technical Bulletin, 24, 2003, pp. 50-63.

Aterido Fernández, Ángel; Martínez Cuesta, Juan; Pérez Preciado, José Juan, Colecciones de pinturas de Felipe V e Isabel Farnesio. Inventarios Reales, II, Fundación de Apoyo de la Historia del Arte Hispánico, Madrid, 2004, pp. 454.

Heck, Christian, Collections du Nord-Pas-De Calais : la Peinture de Flandre e, Bij Peeters, Bruxelas, 2005, pp. 285.

Silver, Larry, Pieter Bruegel, Abbeville Press Publishers, 2011, pp. 147.

Woodall, Joanna, De wisselaer Quentin Matsys's man weeighing gold coins and his wife. 1514, Nederlands kunsthistorisch jaarboek, 64, 2014, pp. 38-75 [39,41].

Campbell, Lorne, The sixteenth century Netherlandish paintings with French paintings before 1600, II, National Gallery Company: Distributed by Yale University, Londres, 2014, pp. 658.

Blauensteiner, B. Götz, E, Vom geben und nehmen: untreue als moralbotschaft, Viena, 2014, pp. 12.

Pérez Preciado, J.J, '«Antes morir que discutir». Sobre las atribuciones históricas de lapintura neerlandesa antigua en el Museo del Prado (1912-33)', Boletín del Museo del Prado., XXXVII 55-57, 2019-2021, pp. 190-211 [210].

Seidel, Christine, Marinus van Reymerswale. El tesorero municipal y su mujer, En Marinus: pintor de Reymerswale, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2021, pp. 104-106 nº 6, 135.

Alba, L. Jover, M Gayo, M. D, Marinus: aproximación a la técnica del pintor y su taller, En Marinus: pintor de Reymerswale, Museo Nacional del Prado,, Madrid, 2021, pp. 71-85.

Taatgen, Alice, Moda de fantasía: la indumentaria en las obras de Marinus van Reymerswale, En Marinus: pintor de Reymerswale, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2021, pp. 49-55.

Other inventories +

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1873-1907. Núm. 1422.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1910. Núm. 2102.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1942-1996. Núm. 2102.

Inv. Fernando VII, La Granja, 1814-1818. Núm. 687.
{20332} 687 / tabla tres pies de alto quatro de largo hombre y mujer contando moneda = Lucas de Holanda

Inv. Isabel Farnesio, La Granja, 1746. Núm. 687.
Otra Pintura en Tabla, de maº de Lucas de Olanda, que reptª Marido, y Muger Comerciantes pesando, y contando Moneda. Tiene una vara menos quatro dedos de alto, cinco quartas de ancho; y Marco dorado liso ... 1

Inv. Testamentaría Isabel Farnesio, La Granja, 1766. Núm. 687.
Pieza quadrada inmediata al Dormitorio [...] 687 / Ôtro [quadro] de quatro pies y medio de ancho, por tres y quatro dedos de ancho, marco liso dorado en tabla, representa un Mercader, pesando dinero, y la Muger registrando el Libro, de Lucas de Olanda, vale cinco mil rrs

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, La Granja, 1794. Núm. 687.
[2401] 687 / Otra [pintura] en tabla de tres pies de alto, pr. quatro de largo, marco dorado liso, representa un hombre, y una muger contando moneda en tres mil reales. Lucas de Olanda ... 3000

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 978.
Reigmesverle Maring / 978. El avariento. (Figura de medio cuerpo)/ Estrañamente vestido, con un gorro encarnado en la cabeza. Tiene en una mano una balanza, y con la otra pone en ella varias monedas de oro, una muger esta a su lado observando con atención. (Tabla). / Alto 2 pie, 10 pulg; ancho 3 pies, 10 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 978.

Inscriptions +

Reymerswale / Marinus me fecit / á 1538
Signed and dated. Front, upper left corner

Fleur-de-lis, used as a collection’s mark belonging to Elisabeth Farnese. Front, lower right corner

Inscribed in orange. Front, lower left corner

[Escritura en un libro de registro]
Inscribed in black. Front, right side

[Escritura en pliegues de cordel fingidos]
Inscribed in black. Front, left side

ELISABETH DEI GRATIA / HISPANIARVM REGINA [dentro de una gráfila, al rededor de los escudos de Felipe V e Isabel Farnesio acolados]
Inscribed in white. Back, central area

Exhibitions +

Marinus. Painter from Reymerswale
09.03.2021 - 13.06.2021

Location +

La Granja - Real Sitio de La Granja de San Ildefonso (Deposit)

Displayed objects +

Money: Sobre la mesa se representan diez cruzados de Manuel I de Portugal; cuatro excelentes de los Reyes Católicos; el escudo del sol francés de los reinados de Carlos VIII y Luis XII; el joachimsthaler de plata de Bohemia; y el snaphaan acuñado en los Países Bajos en 1508 por Carlos II de Egmond, duque de Güeldres.

Document: Los papeles que cuelgan del estante contienen, de izquierda a derecha, la siguiente información: el primero una relación fragmentaria de los pagos hechos a los herederos de un hombre probablemente llamado Godevaert; el segundo un listado de rentas satisfechas por la ciudad de Reymerswale durante un periodo de diez años al conde de Holanda, por misas celebradas en memoria de una señorita llamada Buts, y por otras tres misas; y el tercero una relación fragmentaria de impuestos semestrales sobre el vino y la cerveza. El listado de rentas del segundo papel es una versión reducida y ligeramente modificada del texto que aparece en el libro de cuentas del cuadro "Recaudadores de impuestos" de San Petersburgo (The State Hermitage Museum, inv. 423).

(Papel 1):
Cornelis vander [...] / 9 chelines 10 groses
los herederos [¿de?] / Gode[vae]rt [...]
[?] 35 libras 18 chelines / 2 groses 18 mites".

(Papel 2):
"Estas son las rentas / que la ciudad de / Reymerswale de aquí en adelante /
debe pagar durante un periodo de diez años
A nuestro noble señor [...]
misas por la señorita Buts [...]
por las tres misas por [...]
Suma total / 102 libras 12[?] [chelines]".

(Papel 3):
Item [el impuesto sobre] la cerveza / por siete meses
Item [el impuesto sobre] el vino / por valor de [...]".

Instrumentos de contabilidad

Siglo XVI

Países Bajos


Book: El libro de cuentas sobre la mesa enumera las rentas vitalicias pagadas a diferentes individuos:

Página izquierda del libro de cuentas:
"Restos de rentas vitalicias
Jan de Druve por sus antiguos restos [...]
Adriaen Staes recibe anualmente 10 libras
Lysbeth vander Bere por lo que le resta [...]
Clara y Catherine vanden Braecken [...]
Suma 75 libras 3 chelines 4 groses".

Página derecha del libro de cuentas:
"Jan de Meijere por lo que le resta 18 libras [...]
Wil[le]m[?] Pieters 10 libras [...] groses".

Instrumentos de contabilidad

Siglo XVI

Países Bajos



Candlestick, non-vitrious


Golden Fleece

Update date: 11-04-2022 | Registry created on 27-05-2016

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