Money Matters in European Artworks and Literature, c. 1400-1750
Money Matters in European Artworks and Literature, c. 1400-1750
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Introduction: Embodying Value
Joanna Woodall with Natasha Seaman

Power and Authority in the Mint

1. Weighing Things Up in Maarten de Vos’s Tribunal of the Brabant Mint 1594 (Joanna Woodall)

2. Scaling the World: Allegory of Coinage and Monetary Governance in the Dutch Republic (Sebastian Felten and Jessica Stevenson Stewart)

Currency and the Anxieties of Global Trade

3. Market Stall in Batavia: Money, Value, and Uncertainty in the Age of Global Trade (Angela Ho)

4. Beyond the Mint: Picturing Gold on the Rijksmuseum’s Box of the Dutch West India Company (Carrie Anderson)

Coins and Persons

5. The Heft of Truth: Inwardness and Debased Coinage in Shakespeare’s Plays (Rana Choi)

6. Identity, Agency, Motion: Taylor’s Twelvepence and the Poetry of Commodity (Heather G.S. Johnson)

Coins in and out of Circulation

7. Margarethe Butzbach and the Florin Extorted by Blows: Coins Securing Social Bonds in Fifteenth-Century Germany (Allison Stielau)

8. Centring the Coin in Jacob Backer’s Woman with a Coin (Natasha Seaman)

Credit and Risk

9. Accounting Faith and Seeing ‘Ghost Money’ in Masaccio’s Tribute Money (Roger J. Crum)

10. Monetary Transactions and Pictorial Gambles in Georges de La Tour (Dalia Judovitz)

The Work of Art: The Installations of Kelli Rae Adams (Natasha Seaman)


Natasha Seaman, Joanna Woodall (eds)

Money Matters in European Artworks and Literature, c. 1400-1750

Money Matters in European Artworks and Literature, c. 1400-1750 focuses on coins as material artefacts and agents of meaning in early modern arts. The precious metals, double-sided form, and emblematic character of coins had deep resonance in European culture and cultural encounters. Coins embodied Europe’s power and the labour, increasingly located in colonised regions, of extracting gold and silver. Their efficacy depended on faith in their inherent value and the authority perceived to be imprinted into them, guaranteed through the institution of the Mint. Yet they could speak eloquently of illusion, debasement and counterfeiting.

A substantial introduction precedes essays by interdisciplinary scholars on five themes: power and authority in the Mint; currency and the anxieties of global trade; coins and persons; coins in and out of circulation; credit and risk. An Afterword on a contemporary artist demonstrates the continuing expressive and symbolic power of numismatic forms.

Natasha Seaman

Natasha Seaman is Professor of Art History at Rhode Island College. She is the author of Hendrick ter Brugghen and the Theology of the Image. Reinventing Painting after the Reformation in Utrecht (Ashgate 2012) and several articles relating to the work of the Utrecht Caravaggisti.

Joanna Woodall

Joanna Woodall is Professor of Art History at The Courtauld Institute of Art. She specialises in Netherlandish visual culture during the age of global expansion. Her recent publications have focused on love and money, and sometimes the exchange between the two.