Marinus van Reymerswaele
The Lawyer’s Office
Oil on wood
40 3/8 x 48 5/8 in.
Museum purchase through the Ella West Freeman Foundation Matching Fund
Elizabeth Danos and Paul P. Selley Gallery
A lawyer with his arm and hand raised is seated at the left. His clerk, writing, is in the center, while three other men fill the right side. The one in front empties a bag of money. The criticism of greed was a popular theme in 16th-century Netherlandish painting. Paintings like this one were used to satirize the legal profession which was already being criticized for its avarice. Van Reymerswaele's reputation is based upon this type of satirical genre painting. The documents in the background of this painting refer to an actual lawsuit begun in 1526 but not resolved until 1538 by which time the property in dispute had been destroyed by storms.