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The moneychanger and his wife : from scholastics to accounting

Santos Redondo, Manuel (2000) The moneychanger and his wife : from scholastics to accounting. [Working Paper or Technical Report]

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Abstract

The Moneychanger and his Wife is a Flemish painting from the early 16th century, widely used to illustrate economic activity. There are two different versions: one by Quentin Massys, 1514, and another by Marinus van Reymerswaele, 1539. There are significant changes between the two versions, which I will argue do have an economic meaning. In the process of reviewing the different interpretations provided by art historians of this picture and other similar ones, we shall see that they are consistent with the views that most art historians share about the commercial and financial world rather than based on any objective interpretation of the painting and history. Thus, while the picture shows commercial and financial activity to be a normal, respectable occupation, most art historians see a moralizing and satirical intention. My view is that art historians’ prejudice towards commercial and financial activity leads them to a wrong interpretation of the painting.

El cambista y su mujer es un cuadro de la escuela flamenca, de principios del siglo XVI, ampliamente utilizado para ilustrar la actividad económica. Existen dos versiones: una de Quentin Massys, 1514, y otra de Marinus van Reymerswaele, 1539, con cambios relevantes entre ambas. Estos cambios tienen un significado económico importante. Las interpretaciones de este cuadro y otros similares que hacen los historiadores del arte son coherentes con su visión del mundo de la economía, más que responder a un análisis objetivo del cuadro y de la historia. Así, mientras que la imagen muestra la actividad comercial y financiera como una profesión normal y respetable, la mayoría de los historiadores del arte consideran que tiene una intención satírica y moralizante. La conclusión es que los prejuicios de los historiadores del arte hacia la actividad comercial y financiera les conducen a una interpretación equivocada del cuadro

Item Type:Working Paper or Technical Report
Subjects:Social sciences > Economics > Economic history
Series Name:Documentos de Trabajo de la Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales
Volume:2000
Number:23
ID Code:6724
Deposited On:30 Nov 2007
Last Modified:06 Feb 2014 07:50

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