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The Tax Collector and his Wife (so-called 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 Tax Collector and his Wife (so-called Money Changer and his Wife)

1539. Oil on panel.
Room 057A

The Prado Tax Collector and his Wife (so-called Money Changer and his Wife) dated 1539 and gifted to the museum in 1934 is the second version of this subject recorded in Spain. Thanks to the recent research by Manuel Parada, it can now be identified as the earliest documented work by Marinus. The painting was acquired by Pedro Dávila y Zúñiga (1498-1567), 1st Marquis of Las Navas, and recorded among the goods he incorporated into his family estate in 1557 as "a painting of a [money] changer with his wife next to him". He must have acquired it between 1554 and 1557, as it is not among the goods incorporated on 10 April 1554. He may have bought the painting during his trip to Brussels to attend the abdications of Charles V between the end of 1554 and the beginning of 1555. Due to marriage policies, the Marquisate of Las Navas joined the House of Santisteban del Puerto in 1648 and later, in 1805, the House of Medinaceli.

While the overall composition is based on the earlier version of 1538 (Museo del Prado, P2102), which was already known to scholars at the end of the nineteenth century, a number of significant changes create an altogether different appearance. Minor alterations shape a different interior space: the room corner motif is replaced by a door opening outwards, giving the impression that the figures are sitting at a table set at an angle to the wall. The door is slightly set inwards and is more reminiscent of the painting by Quinten Massys (1466-1530) in the Louvre (Moneylender and his Wife, 1514, inv. 1444). The coins are also spread differently, and show two currencies which are not represented in the version of 1538: instead of the four excelentes of the Catholic Monarchs, the painter inserted the Grand Real d’or, which was minted in Dordrecht in 1487 on behalf of Philip the Handsome by his legal custodian Maximilian I, and, to the right, in place of the Snaphaan of Charles II of Egmond this variant depicts a Vlieger. This was the first large silver coin to be minted in the Southern Netherlands by Charles V in 1536.

The account book in the 1539 version contains entries for the monthly excise tax on wine and beer, while the paper on the shelf behind the man shows an only partly readable agreement without mentioning a specific name or occasion. They associate the couple with the profession of tax farmers, an office that was outsourced locally and regularly reviewed by representatives of the provincial government.

The composition was transferred to the panel through the use of a grid, allowing the painter to adjust the size of the figures and modify the proportions of their features more freely. Four other signed and dated variants are preserved in Munich, Copenhagen, Florence, and Dresden, and a fifth unsigned and undated one in St Petersburg. A different version, which features a contemporary bonnet for the man and a child entering the office from the right, was most likely developed from the model in Copenhagen, and survives in several copies. None of them are exact replicas of another. Instead, Marinus adjusted proportions, exchanged objects or arranged them differently, and modified the overall colour scheme of the paintings by varying the hue of the figures’ clothes. Thus, each painting is a variant rather than an exact replica, which could be produced through an efficient working method for the growing art market or personalised for a client (Manuel Parada López de Corselas and Christine Seidel in Marinus. Painter from Reymerswale, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2021, pp. 107-109).


Technical data

Inventory number
Reymerswale, Marinus van
The Tax Collector and his Wife (so-called Money Changer and his Wife)
Height: 83 cm; Width: 97 cm
Bequest of María de los Ángeles Medina y Garvey, Duchess of Tarifa, 1934

Bibliography +

Friedländer, Max J., Die altniederlandische malerei, XII, Paul Cassirer, Berlín, 1935, pp. 40-43.

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

Marlier, G, Erasme et la peinture flamande de son temps., Damme, 1954, pp. 1242.

V.V.A.A., Carlos V y su ambiente: exposición-homenaje en el IV Centenario de su muerte, (1558-1958), Ministerio de Educación Nacional, Dirección General de Bellas Artes, Toledo, 1958, pp. 87-88.

Van Puyvelde, L, Considérations sur le manieristes flamands, Revue belge d'archéologie et d'histoire de l'art, 29, 1960, pp. 63-101 [77].

Mayer-Meintsche, A, 'Niederlandische malerei des 15 und 16 Jahrhunders'. En: Katalog Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister Dresden, Dresde, 1966, pp. 50.

Moxey, K.P.F., The Criticism of Avarice in Sixteenth-century Netherlandish Painting, Netherlandish Mannerism: Stockholm, 1984, pp. 21-34.

Balis, A (dir.), La pintura flamenca en el Prado, Ibercaja Fonds Mercator, Amberes, 1989, pp. 95 nº 34.

Milkers, Anne, Omtrent Marinus van Reymerswaele, Gante, 1990, pp. 190-191 nº 15.

Bettagno et aL, The Prado Museum, Amberes, 1996, pp. 375.

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

Heck, Christian, Collections du Nord-Pas-De Calais : la Peinture de Flandre e, Bij Peeters, Bruxelas, 2005, pp. 283.

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].

Blauensteiner, B. Götz, E, Vom geben und nehmen: untreue als moralbotschaft, Viena, 2014, pp. 11.

Parada, M. Palacios, L., Pedro Dávila y Zúñiga, I marqués de Las Navas : patrocinio artístico y coleccionismo anticuario en las cortes de Carlos V y Felipe II, Bolonia University Press,, Bolonia, 2020, pp. 84-85.

Parada López de Corselas, M.; Seidel C,, 'Marinus de Reymerswale. El recaudador de impuestos y su mujer' En:, Marinus: pintor de Reymerswale, Museo Nacional del Prado,, Madrid, 2021, pp. 107-110 nº.7 , 136.

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, 1942-1996. Núm. 2567.

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 1664.
Autor, Reymerswaele. / 1664. Asunto, el cambista y su mujer. / Tabla, 83 x 97 cm. / nº catalogo, 2567. / Legado del duque de Tarifa en 1934...

Inscriptions +

Dated. Front, upper left area

Marinus me fecit
Signed. Front, upper left area

Exhibitions +

Marinus. Painter from Reymerswale
09.03.2021 - 13.06.2021

Location +

Room 057A (On Display)


Displayed objects +

Money: Sobre la mesa se representan diez cruzados de Manuel I de Portugal; el gran real d'or, acuñado en Dordrecht en 1487 en nombre de Felipe el Hermoso por su tutor legal Maximiliano I; el escudo del sol francés de los reinados de Carlos VIII y Luis XII; el joachimsthaler de plata de Bohemia; y un vlieger acuñado en el sur de los Países Bajos por Carlos V en 1536.

Document: El contenido de las inscripciones que figuran en los documentos no es concluyente; el texto que cuelga del estante parece referirse a un documento legal, posiblemente una escritura otorgada por la corporación municipal o por un notario:

"Esto es tal [...] / hecho para [...] / [¿según la ley?], naturalmente [...] / habiendo estos [...] / de ello escrito [...] / y otros a [...] / destino y [...] / del mencionado día 28 [...] / [en] mi presencia [...] / O[?]".

Escritura notarial

Siglo XVI

Países Bajos


Book: El libro de cuentas sobre la mesa enumera los ingresos por los impuestos mensuales pagados por el consumo de cerveza y vino y vinculan al personaje con la profesión de recaudador de impuestos municipales.

Página izquierda del libro de cuentas:
[...] del impuesto sobre el vino y el [...]
[...] 22 libras 2[?] [groses]
[...] 15 libras".

Página derecha del libro de cuentas:
"Otro recibo por el impuesto sobre la cerveza
Por la primera fecha de vencimiento en
enero ................................................. 33 chelines
De nuevo por la segunda en febrero ..... 30 chelines 3 groses [...] 10 groses
De nuevo la tercera fecha de
vencimiento pagado ............................ 35 [...] chelines".

Instrumentos de contabilidad

Siglo XVI

Países Bajos




Update date: 04-11-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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