Money is not ahistorical. This is the fundamental premise of the exhibition. As the visual history of economics shows, the ways in which money is depicted by artists have changed repeatedly over the centuries.
In contrast to the classical economic view, which postulated the existence of a Homo Oeconomicus as a constant over the centuries, the visual history of economics suggests that this fi gure reinvented itself again and again. This seems to raise the question of when our current understanding of money will once again change. For example, the social rise of tradesmen to important figures in public life in the Netherlands and in Southern Germany of the 16th century meant that they could now present themselves with the insignia of their new wealth. But during the course of the next century, a new pictorial genre emerged, in which money is represented together with skulls and assembled to vanitas images and moral allegories. Until far into the 20th century, there were almost no representations of money without references to such social or moral aspects. This changed with Andy Warhol’s large-format serial depictions of dollar bills.