The Banker and his Wife and Evil Woman

7:00 AM

Quentin Matsys, The Banker and his Wife, 1504

“You made a fool of me,
But them broken dreams have got to end.”

Oh, evil women. In the scheme of female characters across the arts, they are not far and few between. Yes, lest we forget: they’re susceptible to sin. In fact, that disgraceful, unholy woman could be right in front of you. Quentin Matsys’s The Banker and his Wife reminds us that we can’t hide our bad points, no matter how hard we try.

“Rolled in from another town,
Hit some gold, too hard to settle down.”

Though this couple initially seems compatible due to their peculiar taste in headwear, in reality their relationship seems to be based on more than personal attraction. The woman absently flips through the pages of her holy book, her attention stuck to the valuables her husband counts next to her. A single glance carries into substantial interest and she leans in, destroying her devotion in favor of avarice. This business of temptation ties back to Eve’s original sin, hinted at by the fruit that sits in the back shelf behind them. Those darn, greedy women.

“Ha, ha, woman, what you gonna do,
You destroyed all the virtues that the Lord gave you.”

I can’t help but think of Electric Light Orchestra’s “Evil Woman” while looking at this pieces. Besides the fact that it’s an excessively catchy song, the lyrics are quite fitting. Though this woman may not be hopping from guy to guy, she certainly has her eyes on her man’s material wealth before all else in her life.

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