Erasmus symposium, 23 Januari 2009
Larry Silver, professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Massys and Money: the Rediscovered 'Tax-Collectors'
Occasionally it happens: an unknown masterpiece surfaces at an auction. In July 2008 the long lost painting titled "Tax Collectors", by the sixteenth century Flemish master Quentin Massys appeared. In this lecture Larry Silver points out various details that underline the authenticity of the work and dates it at the end of Massys' career - i.e. somewhere between 1525 and 1530. He relates it to earlier work by the master himself (especially to the Moneychanger and his Wife from 1514) as well as to a later copy by Marinus van Reymerswaele. Exploring the Antwerp financial world at the time, Silver argues that with this work Massys created a new type of painting: the non-religious (humanistic) moral genre-painting.