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Marinus van Reymerswaele

(c. 1490—1567)


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(b ?Reimerswaal, c.1490; d ?Middelburg, ?1567).

Netherlandish painter, presumably from Reimerswaal (a city in Zeeland that no longer exists; it was destroyed by repeated flooding). He specialized in two types of picture, both with more or less life-size half-length figures: representations of St Jerome in his study (influenced by Dürer) and 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 Massys) from Leonardo's ‘caricatures’. A ‘Marinus…of Romerswael’ is mentioned in Middelburg in 1567, when he was condemned to walk in a penitential procession for taking part in the looting of a church, but he may not be identical with the painter, who is described as deceased in another document of that year.

Subjects: Art.


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