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A: Antwerpen, Vlaanderen, Belgium

Painter Quentin Matsys Uses a Book of Hours as a Prop for Satire

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Quentin Matsys, The Moneylender and his Wife (1514). Louvre.

A panel painting in oil from 1514 by the Flemish painter Quentin Matsys of Antwerp, entitled The Moneylender and his Wife contains satirical undertones. It depicts the moneylender handling his scale and numerous gold coins. His wife, sitting at his left, is handling a beautiful illuminated manuscript, probably a book of hours. Her eyes are on the coins rather than on the book. The luxurious book is clearly a symbol of her prosperity, and presumed literacy, but her fixation on the gold coins suggests that she may be more interested in money than in piety.

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