MASSYS, Quentin
(b. 1465/66, Leuven, d. 1530, Antwerpen)

The Moneylender and his Wife (detail)

Oil on panel
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Full of their own life, on the other hand, are the still-life details - the lavishly illuminated codex through which the wife is leafing, the angled mirror, which reflects the outer world into the picture in masterly foreshortening, and the glass, accessories and coins gleaming on the table and on the shelves against the far wall. In the dominant role which it grants to these objects, the painting marks an important step along the path towards the pure still life.

By inserting his own likeness into the painting - reflected in the convex mirror Massys recalls the use of this device by Jan van Eyck in The Arnolfini Marriage of 1434.