(b. ca. 1490, Reymerswale, d. ca. 1567, Reymerswale)

The Banker and His Wife

Oil on wood
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Valenciennes

Reymerwaele specialized in genre scenes of bankers, usurers, misers, and tax-collectors. The genre scenes show the sin of avarice and the vanity of earthly possessions; according to a Flemish proverb a banker, a usurer, a tax-collector, and a miller were the four evangelists of the devil. These paintings must have been very popular, for they exist in numerous versions and copies, but it is not known what kind of clientele bought pictures of such unpleasant characters, grotesquely presented in a manner deriving (via Quentin Massys) from Leonardo's caricatures.