The Miser is a 1600s painting by the Dutch Golden Age artist Jan Steen. This work is located in the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen, Denmark.
A miser is a person who is excessively frugal, stingy, and unwilling to spend money or part with their possessions. Miserliness is typically characterized by an intense desire to hoard wealth, often to the detriment of one’s own well-being or relationships. Misers are often associated with extreme thriftiness, penny-pinching behavior, and a reluctance to indulge in even basic comforts or necessities.
The term “miser” is derived from the Latin word “miser,” meaning “wretched” or “miserable,” and it has been used throughout history to describe individuals who exhibit an extreme attachment to material possessions and a reluctance to share or enjoy their wealth. Misers are often depicted as living in austere conditions, accumulating wealth through excessive saving or miserly behavior, and displaying an intense fear of poverty or loss.
While some people may exhibit frugal tendencies without crossing into the realm of true miserliness, a genuine miser is characterized by an obsessive preoccupation with money and possessions, often at the expense of personal relationships and enjoyment of life. The portrayal of misers in literature, art, and popular culture often emphasizes their negative qualities, depicting them as morally bankrupt or socially isolated figures.