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Bosch, Hieronymus
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Bosch, Hieronymus [Hieronimus, Jérôme, Jheronimus; Aken, Jeroen van; El Bosco]
(b c. 1450; d ’s Hertogenbosch, bur 9 Aug 1516).
Netherlandish painter and draughtsman. The most distinctive and idiosyncratic of 15th-century Netherlandish artists, he produced a body of work remarkable for its depiction of fantastic, often diabolic, creatures, generally moralizing representations of the consequences of sin and folly.

I. Life, commissions and patrons.
Bosch came from a family of painters originally from Aachen (hence the painter’s real name of Jeroen van Aken). His great-grandfather, a painter called Thomas, migrated westward, like many other artists, and in 1404 became a citizen of Nijmegen. Thomas’s brother Johan den Meler (‘the painter’) was also active there. Thomas’s son Jan (d 1454) is recorded at ’s Hertogenbosch in 1426. Four of Jan’s five sons were painters, including Hieronymus’s father, Antonius. Hieronymus’s brother Goossen was also a painter. Hieronymus Bosch is first documented in 1474 and first mentioned as a painter in 1480–81. In June 1481 he appears to have married the daughter of a well-to-do member of the local patriciate, Aleyt Goyarts van den Meervenne (d 1522–3), who was 25 years his senior; the marriage was apparently childless. In 1488 Bosch owned half a house with its grounds, inherited from his wife, in the Schildersstraetken, ’s Hertogenbosch. During the period 1474–98 there are fourteen documents concerning financial transactions by Bosch and his wife, four of which relate to Bosch selling his wife’s real estate for cash (not, however, including their principal property, the estate of Ten Roedeken), perhaps because art was not bringing him a sufficient income. Thus already by 1500— before he had achieved fame as an artist—Bosch did not have to paint for a living and was wealthy enough to paint whatever he chose. In fact, tax records for the years 1502–3 and 1511–12 show that Bosch was in the wealthiest top 10% of citizens of ’s Hertogenbosch (see Blondé and Vlieghe, 1989). Important to Bosch’s social position in the town was his membership of the Brotherhood of Our Lady, from whom he received his first commissions. An ordinary member from 1486–7 onwards, at the new year of 1488 he was already a guest of honour at the annual ‘swan banquet’, and he became a sworn member in that year—an early indication of his high social status. Of c. 300 sworn members, more than half were priests or magistri (academics). Officially only clerici (those who had taken at least minor orders) could be sworn members, but exceptions were made for aristocrats, magistrates, large landowners and prosperous businessmen. Bosch was either a member of this latter category, perhaps through marriage, or a clericus with some previous education; or he may have qualified on both grounds. At this time he was only about 38, and the honour was unusual for a ‘craftsman’: he was the only artist to be a sworn member. For the Brotherhood, Bosch executed five minor works in 1493, 1503–4, 1508–9 and 1511–12. According to J. B. Gramaye (1610), there were several altarpieces by Bosch in the St Janskerk in

of which Bosch painted the inner wings. the Ecce homo . while the Dutch nobility owned one humorous scene and the ‘Garden of Earthly Delights ’. which was kept at his court in Brussels. The Brotherhood no doubt offered Bosch useful social contacts. possessed six paintings by Bosch. Städel.). it has been suggested that they were intended mainly for an upper middle-class urban public. including the Bronckhorst– Bosschuysse family. & Städt. and other unidentified families (another version of the Adoration of the Magi . although not stated as painted by Bosch. col. . in fact. version. Anc. probably not the original. an altarpiece with four scenes from the Story of Judith and the Story of Esther for the chapel of St Michael (donor unknown) and. including the tabletop with the Seven Deadly Sins and an original version of The Haywain (both Madrid. Diego de Guevara. It thus speaks highly for Bosch’s status that the Burgundian ruler Philip the Fair ordered a large altarpiece with the Last Judgement from him in 1504 (to which the fragment in Munich. among them several Spaniards in Brabant. oil on panel. The works ordered or bought by the ruling nobility all belong to a single category (the Last Judgement and scenes of hermits) and were apparently supplied after 1500. Antonio de Beatis’s description (1517) of the ‘Garden of Earthly Delights ’. They included an altarpiece for the Brotherhood’s chapel. patricians and the Dutch nobility than with the rulers of the Netherlands. Gal.’s Hertogenbosch (now all untraced). The Brotherhood generally afforded more contact with courtiers. Frankfurt am Main.. who was already a member of the Brotherhood in 1498–9. for whom he painted an Adoration of the Magi . according to inventories. the Crucifixion . below). who probably commissioned the ‘Garden of Earthly Delights ’ (Madrid. It is thus apparent that the aristocracy showed interest in Bosch at a very late stage. 1480–1520. may belong)—the only commission for which there is documentary evidence. finally. A. In these cases it is not known whether the works were acquired through intermediaries or commissioned direct from the artist. while Philip of Burgundy. an altarpiece of the Creation of the World (Hexameron mundi) for the high altar (probably commissioned by the church). shows a total failure to understand it. A triptych with the Martyrdom of St Ontcommer (Venice.). an altarpiece with the Adoration of the Magi .00… Italy. Mus. replicas and inventories. perhaps when he already had a certain reputation. there is no contemporary archival evidence.35×1. and before that. Alte Pin. father of Felipe de Guevara. Doge’s Pal. A Temptation of St Anthony was also in the collection of Margaret of Austria. perhaps from northern 1. both of which are known from later copies (Switzerland. However. Prado. priv. Moreover. Bosch also supplied works of a traditional religious kind for several wealthy members of the bourgeoisie. so that it would find favour as a curiosity and allow private interpretations. that of fantastic diablerie . for instance. Bosch’s work. may have been deliberately emptied of any specific content. since they contain several basic elements of what may be called an early bourgeois ideology and their original function is obscure. Isabella the Catholic (d 1505) owned works signed by Bosch. Another member was Count Hendrick III of Nassau. now known only from copies. Prado. the ruling nobility was interested in a particular genre for which he became famous only in the 16th century.. Knowledge is greatly hindered by the rarity of upper middle-class inventories for the citizens of the south-eastern Netherlands in the period c. Yet it is unclear to what extent they appreciated and understood his imagery. Perhaps many of them were executed in the popular technique of watercolour on canvas: this was less expensive. Also in the church were paintings of David and Abigail and Solomon and Bathsheba . see fig. Madrid. Prado). There is no trace of Bosch’s many secular moralizing compositions in aristocratic circles. Philip may also have ordered a Temptation of St Anthony in 1505.) Hieronymus Bosch: triptych with The Haywain. Kstinst. was probably painted for an Italian patron. possessed at least one humorous scene by Bosch and also a Stone Operation (or ‘Cure of Folly ’. see fig. Brussels. This was certainly the case with the large group of works systematically assembled by Philip II of Spain and possibly those owned by de Guevara. below). Madrid. Bishop of Utrecht (1465–1524). Prado. For most of the untraced works by Bosch. Paintings of this kind in Spanish collections in the late 16th century seem to have been acquired a good while after Bosch’s death.

Lázaro Galdiano). Mus. All the classifications of Bosch’s work according to chronological phases and stylistic development so far proposed are self-contradictory and subjective (see §III below). Doge’s Pal. The humanists also admired the hermit’s self-control and single-mindedness.). Doge’s Pal. Geiler von Kaisersberg). the Conversion of St Paul (in the 17th century with the Antwerp art dealer Forchondt) and St Dominic and the Heretics (mentioned by Karel van Mander).II. which was in Cardinal Grimani’s collection in Venice in 1521 (untraced). and two panels (both Rotterdam.g.) and several untraced works: St Martin and the Beggar (preserved in a print published by Hieronymus Cock). Kst. often implying a wholly independent ethical system. The backgrounds of Bosch’s representations of hermit saints are rarely directly connected with their relevant legend. the third wife of Hendrick III of Nassau). Among his other (untraced) Old Testament scenes. of the Virgin. Venice. He was certainly not working to meet the needs of the ordinary devotee.). A. Doge’s Pal. Boymans–van Beuningen) depicting Noah’s Ark on Mt Ararat and Monsters Populating the Earth (?after the Fall of the Rebel Angels). Venice. which is extremely varied. a strong theme among the early humanists of the Upper Rhine (e.). Mus.g. their shape suggests that they were wings of a triptych. Groeningemus. 1.g. ’s Hertogenbosch. Hermits were the only group of saints whom Bosch depicted independently. were: the Tower of Babel (the struggle against tyranny and discord). not only conveyed a narrative didactic religious message. This is especially the case with the famous triptych with the Temptation of St Anthony (Lisbon. Furthermore. for instance. the Temptation of St Anthony (e. to all of which a metaphorical meaning was attached in the 16th century. The hermits and saints painted so often by Bosch.). with whom Bosch had so much affinity. he made few paintings of saints: none. Bruges. Religious. Gemäldegal. Ant.. illustrating the lives of the saints. in which all men were foolish and sinful and very few could expect salvation. as seen by Bosch. The situation is further complicated by the fact that many of the works are now known only from documents and prints (e. as in depictions of St Jerome (e. St Giles (Venice. Besides those works (untraced) previously in the St Janskerk. They are thus best considered in terms of their iconography. The hermit’s trials. Other depictions include St John on Patmos (Berlin. Madrid. Mus. Apart from the hermits. St John the Evangelist (formerly in the collection of Mencía de Mendoza. Prado.) as a vehicle for his ethical views: he presented a fundamentally pessimistic concept of the world. impervious and invulnerable. in their own right as a type and an exemplary ideal. many of the works are composed of dozens of small scenes that cannot be immediately related to any single theme. They are the artist’s invention. an epitome of the wise man.g. Bosch’s religious pictures included the Story of Jonah. N. though to some extent these overlap. but also often contained a moralizing message. St Anne and other devotional saints who were then so popular. in which Bosch used the hermit as a vehicle for his own convictions or rather those of the group for which it was intended. Work and iconography. The subjects can be roughly divided into two categories. S. and St John the Baptist in the Wilderness (Madrid. patience and constancy in the face of temptation. but for particular patrons for whom his own intellectual contribution was generally decisive. such as the main subject of the picture. Lot and his Daughters (unchasteness and ‘unequal love’) and Job ( patientia or longsuffering). for instance the altarpiece of the Hermits (Venice. the Blind Leading the Blind ). they believed. The hermit was thus apparently more of a rhetorical model. The essential significance of the hermit saint’s life.). of which the central panel may have represented the Flood (untraced). is the rejection of society and the withdrawal from all earthly vices. They served as an admonition to self-control (especially over bodily passions). Bosch did not represent the . Mus.g. Sebastian Brant. were much easier to bear than those of worldly people—a view hard to reconcile with the practical morality of the same early humanist groups and their bourgeois sympathizers. Ghent. Bosch also used depictions of the Last Judgement (e. Doge’s Pal.

). Doge’s Pal. Stat. version New York. the eschatological schema serving as a final legitimization of his secular ethical views.. and Copenhagen. mentioned by van Mander) and Christ among the Doctors (copies in Paris. To the first category belong the Nativity (copy. is situated between the earthly and the supernatural and contains both heavenly and diabolical elements: thus some interpreters see it as depicting a paradisiacal state. The Haywain (see fig. The central panel shows the false paradise of love.). Similar scenes—the Blessed in the Terrestrial Paradise . Eschatological thinking was of lasting importance in Bosch’s work. Rijksmus. A. Wallraf-Richartz-Mus. ex-Philip II priv. as the pseudo-paradisus amoris was called in the 15th and 16th centuries. The haywain motif is not his own invention: a 16th-century print of the same title (Nuremberg. to be repeated at the end of the world sub specie luxuriae (‘sicut in diebus Noe …’). the Fall of the Damned and Hell—are represented in four other panels (all Venice. Cologne. and the division between sheep and goats is not very equal.. Besides Old Testament themes. On the outer side the newly created world is already clothed in wonderful flora. de Haen priv.). Bosch supported this view ‘historically’: sex and procreation were known from the beginning (the outside of the wings). 1500. A. and copies after several lost prototypes. on the evidence of language.. 1500). and Amsterdam. He saw mankind in the light of eternity.). the Magi. Christ before Pilate (copies. which are also found in the central panel and in temptation scenes by the artist. Then come the Betrayal of Christ (untraced. probably as the aetas aurea from Adam to Noah. This grail. From Christ’s ministry there is only the Marriage at Cana (possible copy. Prado. 1581). The preaching of ‘pure’ marriage is not so much a matter of religious thinking as of the upper middle-class preoccupation with marriage. Louvre. Rotterdam. Cologne. and at the end of the world (which may come at any time) they will again lead back to evil. above) and the ‘ Garden of Earthly Hieronymus Bosch: triptych with the ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’. Bosch applied it to all earthly possessions and pleasures that men blindly pursue. Bosch painted many scenes from the Life of Christ . with the all-seeing eye of Christ in the centre. A. in the ‘golden age’ they turned to luxuria . Mus. Gal. San Diego. col. In the triptych with the ‘Garden of Earthly Delights ’. Delights ’ both have a representation of Hell on the right-hand panel. and elsewhere). The ambiguity is. Thus men and women believe they are living in a lovers’ paradise (the grail). Met. leading to eternal damnation (the wain is driven by devils towards hell). Ger. Kstinst. The left wing shows the institution of marriage (Adam and Eve) and already hints at the sexual perversion of it (the owl in the fountain). oil… Hay was at that time a symbol for everything worthless and transient. the Crowning . the Flight into Egypt (untraced. Compared to the few blessed. see fig. already tormented by devils on earth. others a state of sin. In the tabletop with the Seven Deadly Sins . Bosch depicted the history of the world in terms of the Creation of the World by God the Father (on the outer wings). & Mus. Rotterdam. NJ.G.resurrection of the dead. the family and the household (concerns that were strongly promoted c.. but it is really false and pernicious. The cycle of the Passion is introduced by Hieronymus Bosch: Adoration of Christ Driving the Money-changers from the Temple (copies. centering on his childhood and the Passion. on a Utrecht source of c. the Ascent of the Blessed into the Celestial Paradise .. & Städt. the Ecce homo (Frankfurt am Main. Hell. Its ‘message’ is approximately as follows: sexuality can become an end in itself. owing to an unchaste interpretation of the paradisiacal state of marriage instituted by God. ex-G. the earthly or Terrestrial Paradise (Garden of Eden) on the left inner wing and Hell on the right inner wing—all treated sub specie sexualitatis et procreationis. Kst) and the Entry into Jerusalem (untraced. in fact. col. intended and is fundamental to a proper understanding of the triptych. Mus. Mus. copies. oil and gold on… Glasgow. the Adoration of the Magi (Madrid. and Princeton. Mus. roundels in the corners depict the Four Last Things (Death .) bears long inscriptions based. Terrestrial or Earthly Paradise and Celestial Paradise ). Boymans–van Beuningen. symbols of nature and sexuality. Mus. saints and moralizing religious subjects. Nmus. Boymans–van Beuningen). Städel.). U. CA. with the command to increase and multiply.). there is always a legion of damned.

savagery and civilization. Bosch associated sin and folly with a large cross-section of society’s lower classes: whores. in both pictures and moral treatises.). as though Bosch regarded it as a selfevident basis for his moral precepts. The Christocentrism itself recalls the Devotio moderna . control over passions. ex-Archduke Ernest priv. The Fosterer and the Blind Leading the Blind. Bosch’s connection between ‘vice’ or ‘evil behaviour’ and ‘folly’ or ‘stupidity’—a theme explored in such paintings as the Stone Operation. This morality. Boymans–van Beuningen). ethicism and individualism. Kst. Moralizing.with Thorns (London. S. jailbirds. profligacy. the Blind Leading the Blind and the Ship of Fools —was in tune with the intellectual outlook of the day. 1494). Escorial). moderation. Anc. the Carrying of the Cross (versions. In line with contemporary attitudes towards ‘social deviation’. Bosch in his pictures provided countless deviants whom he placed in hell or in the company of demons. Mus. 2. 1593. was aimed at defending the status quo. who pointed out that nearly all the vices depicted by Bosch are regularly characterized as ‘follies’ and are generally ascribed to a motley group of members of the lowest social class. Mus. Vienna. is found in the 15th-century ‘literature of folly’. the Crucifixion (Brussels. Mus. quarrelsomeness. and vice and folly. A. Bosch’s many secular moralizing works served as a vehicle for expressing his thoughts on norms and values. drunkenness and self-inflicted poverty.G. it is incidentally implied. col.. which arose in bourgeois circles c.). Bosch interpreted these ideas from a concrete social point of view. This accorded with contemporary ideas. In the first place. In the Passion scenes Bosch emphasized the suffering and patience of Christ and the bestiality of his tormentors. The vices condemned by Bosch can be divided into four categories. the Entombment (drawing. Mus. Vagrants are another common subject in his work.. above all. he disapproved of giving way to ‘wild’ bodily impulses: aggression. as fools were in the relevant literary genre. self-knowledge. In Bosch’s work the equation between folly. as manifested in his works. vagabonds. It has often been suggested that the way in which Christ looks directly at the spectator is intended to recall the Imitatio Christi in the Devotio moderna . Detachment. the foreground figures of the centre panel and the outer wings of The Haywain and several other lost works: The Verdict . in the later Middle Ages they began to be strictly controlled and stigmatized as good-for-nothing parasites and idlers. reason were regarded as important values. the Lamentation (two untraced prototypes) and the Descent into Limbo (untraced.). gluttony. 1525. love of food and drink and. common soldiers and poor people of all sorts. the Mocking of Christ (Madrid. The sources of Bosch’s religiosity have not yet been fully explored. Whereas earlier the poor had not been frowned on. who it was thought should be banished from society. Ghent. a number of satirical texts contained long lists of ‘depraved persons’. This reached a climax c. such as those expressed in Thomas More’s De tristitia Christi . beggars and travelling mountebanks. It is not a question of his having been ‘influenced’ by the literature of folly: there was a common ideology that found expression in all the various media. BM). as in The Vagabond (Rotterdam. when the regulations for poor-relief were extensively overhauled. such as Sebastian Brant’s Narrenschiff (‘Ship of fools’. The ordinary late medieval devotional literature explains many elements. The Conjurer (preserved only in copies and imitations). He also . From the 14th century onwards. procuresses. who represent the blind and sinful world par excellence. and especially in the 15th and 16th centuries. Ksthist. Escorial (ex-Philip II). and. The most detailed explanations of these paintings—and those best founded historically —are those of Dirk Bax. but by no means all. sin and (socially) reprehensible behaviour is not consciously expressed by a specific type representing folly. Fools and social undesirables were thus condemned to suffer a similar fate in both literature and art. the works of Thomas Murner and many other less-known or anonymous authors. The equation of virtue and wisdom. Bosch’s attitude to religion. above all. variant versions survive). early humanism and the Devotio moderna . sexuality. though it departed from the old order’s ideology by virtue of its rationalism. which were expressed in the opposition of nature and culture. topers and revellers. The principal vices represented are unchastity. Madrid. London. N. whose religious outlook was itself an amalgam of ‘typical late medieval’ thought. using everyday figure types. may well have been determined by the taste of advanced bourgeois circles. 1460–90. This sorrowful glance is reminiscent of early humanist visions.

He was an advocate of constant watchfulness. At the same time he used popular modes of expression and thought subconsciously to give form to his ideas. to whom economy was also a moral question. whoring and excessive merrymaking. detachment. Along with the sense of the individual’s weakness goes an obsession with self-preservation as the ideal of utilitarian wisdom. Arenberg col. This explicit content. Self-inflicted poverty was often associated with those on the lowest rung of the social ladder and ascribed to vices from the first two categories: drunkenness. a love of pleasure and roisterous behaviour—vices constantly associated with the common people. eschewing the desire for gain and novelty. ballads. All this is reflected in The Haywain . bourgeois system of morals and satirical method. as in the following paintings (all untraced): the Mock Tournament on the Ice . Folly is self-destructive. In contrast. however. seen as opportunities for carnality and illbreeding. Then comes the defence of the work ethos and the loathing of extravagance. he praised the love of work and a moderate use of money and property. avarice and prodigality. confirms it as well as providing amusement. Bosch made extensive use of lower-class ‘folklore’. 3. in a fictitious breach of the norm that. possessions and their use. 1600.). DC. The concept of threat plays a central part in Bosch’s world view: the individual is attacked in his moral and spiritual integrity by his own impulses. which was still deliberately cultivated as the vehicle of an intellectual morality: ‘the wise man speaks in riddles’. For Bosch the language and proverbs of the lower classes (whether these were substandard or not) presented a certain sense of obscurity. money. restraint and caution. but the emphasis on work and thrift (expressed negatively by Bosch: the rejection of laziness and squandering) already helps to prepare the way for capitalist discourse. Heverlee. Berlin. the attitudes to work. as expressed in his paintings. He also drew extensively on the inversive mode of expression in popular seasonal revels. Fear.A. is used metaphorically to convey a more . All this is related to oeconomica or domestic economy: a life of peace and contentment with the fruits of one’s labour. Folklore traditions also provided specific subjects to be represented in Bosch’s work. reticence. The principle of reversal is a widely recognized anthropological phenomenon: the central categories of a culture are dialectically defined by proclaiming their opposite. for example Shrovetide. was a basic element of bourgeois culture c. rooted in sensuality. constantly obliged to resist and remain firm.disapproved of popular festivities and amusements. attentiveness. Although Bosch himself belonged to the wealthiest and socially highest class in ’s Hertogenbosch. The main emphasis is on moderation. as can be seen in the drawing of the Owl in the Tree (‘The Field Sees. Bosch endorsed the ideology of an urban middle class of craftsmen and small producers. Strife and Dance on Shrove Tuesday and in Lent . This may explain why he constantly represents wrong types of behaviour and never those he considered right. such as popular songs. a state Bosch saw embodied in the lowest ranks of human society. proverbs. the Blind Men’s Boar Hunt . The third category is concerned with work and idleness. in all of which a burlesque contest is the central feature.) and the Scenes of Idleness (preserved only in 16th-century prints). Kupferstichkab. N. The Elephant . in fact. The self was regarded as an extremely weak entity. Sources. the Death of the Miser (Washington. sayings and metaphors—all of which was then pressed into the service of an élite.) and the painting ‘Keep a Weather Eye Open ’ (c. both of material ruin and of spiritual damage. which leads to poverty and ruin. avoiding unbridled acquisitiveness and also blind indifference. the Wood Listens ’.G. not commerce). by the external world and by supernatural forces of evil. Here Bosch’s position was more moderate: he seems to have condemned the love of gain for its own sake but was even more opposed to extravagance. The fourth and last category with which Bosch was concerned is rash and baseless aggression. wealth and poverty. leading to eternal damnation and the company of devils. 1500. This is certainly not a capitalist vision. seem typical of the contemporary urban middle class (guilds.

for Bosch attached too many negative connotations to carnival time. summary underdrawing. Such differences in the .A. The other scenes are also metaphorical: by depicting opposites. rather irregular lines. others repeated alongside or over one another. exhibit the same careful underdrawing and thinly applied paint. The Stone Operation or ‘Cure of Folly’ is not inspired by real surgical procedures (in medieval times it was thought that cutting a stone out of a madman’s head would cure him) but by burlesque illustrations of the futility of trying to make fools wise. Mus. and thus afford no evidence as to chronology. Mus.) and the outer wings of the triptych with the Temptation of St Anthony (Lisbon. N. featuring a confident. CT. DC. To this group may be added the St John the Baptist in the Wilderness (Madrid. Boymans– van Beuningen). intended to hold up folly to public opprobrium but later forbidden by the authorities because of their ‘licentious’ character. Ant. as in the Lisbon triptych. The hatched strokes are made up of short. London. with a slightly mechanical effect.G. 1500 it is always Lent that wins. Individual strokes are short and of unequal length. they satirize foolish. III. are characterized by a not very detailed sketch. In his third and final category he placed the Carrying of the Cross (Ghent.fundamental message. Kst. consists of sketches drawn with a coarse brush and diluted paint.). these two different styles of underdrawing sometimes occur together. Yale U. the Mock Tournament). visible only under the garments.): these. in which the underdrawing has areas of profuse hatching. Grouped around this work are other compositions showing a saint in a landscape. Kst. by contrast. As Filedt Kok pointed out. to which he assigned the Crowning with Thorns (London.G. described as in a ‘careful’ style. This very carefully modelled underdrawing was preceded by a preliminary sketch. giving few details and merely indicating a general design. Gemäldegal. from c. Louvre) and the Allegory (New Haven. Not much was changed in the painting. the ill-effects of error and rashness (e. The Shearing of the Fool (drawing.g. A. Mus. N. with a little hatching here and there. he suggested.G. Mus. Here again. In his second category are the Ship of Fools (Paris. Style. Changes of form are fairly minor. flexible line gracefully indicating forms and contours.g. aggressive and licentious popular amusements (e. but in art. BM) is based on similar organized spectacles. including the inside of the wings of the Lisbon triptych with the Temptation of St Anthony . in which the underdrawing consists of mostly straight lines of varying width. in a ‘sketchy’ style. Mus. in lines of moderate thickness that are often interrupted but firm and give only a summary indication of the different forms. the outcome is uncertain. In this latter work. is based on a broad. Bosch’s technique and style are not homogeneous. This technique is also found in van Schoute’s second group and in such works as the Death of the Miser and The Vagabond (both Washington. such as the St John on Patmos. S. Filedt Kok assigned the Carrying of the Cross (Ghent.).A.). The Elephant ). Other folklore themes in Bosch’s work centre on the ritual celebration of folly. some traces of which can still be discerned. though the forms were further elaborated. S. Strife and Dance on Shrove Tuesday is a metaphor for the opposition between rival sets of values: in literature. some simple. Kon. executed with a coarse brush in thin paint.). an unusual number of changes of form and composition is evident in the final painting. His first category. Filedt Kok (1972–3). the profuse diagonal hatching is more varied and three-dimensional in character.g. distinguished only two types of underdrawing in Bosch’s work. the Blind Men’s Boar Hunt ) or unthinking hostility between social groups and classes (e. Parallel oblique strokes. run from upper left to lower right. giving an impression of great care and accuracy. which has led to much confusion. The works in this group. All these works form a more or less coherent stylistic group. N. Mus.) and the St John on Patmos (Berlin. Van Schoute (1967) examined with infra-red reflectography six panels accepted as authentic and identified what seemed to him three sketching techniques. technique and chronology. Many changes of form were made at the painting stage. The first group. To the second main group. Kst. S.). Lázaro Galdiano) and the St Jerome (Ghent. For example he seems to have used several different techniques of underdrawing. with many white highlights. exemplified in the St Christopher (Rotterdam.

sometimes rapidly applied in an apparently slapdash manner. Marquesa de Cenete and third wife of Hendrick III of Nassau. above). too. In 1521 and 1528 at least five paintings were in the possession of Domenico and Marino Grimani in Venice. Archduke Ernst of Austria and his brother. for example. which is thinly painted over a schematic underdrawing (see fig. as well as apocalyptic claims. The central panel in each instance is intermediate between the other two styles. In each case the left wing is thickly and carefully painted. with the underdrawing visible in many places. Duque de Alba. with a thin. The Vagabond and others. The collection of paintings by Bosch assembled by Mencía de Mendoza.amount of detail in underdrawings. Examples of the second style are the central panel and right wing of The Haywain . had gone still further and actually saw Bosch as a kindred spirit. Thus c. 1800. was the humanist Damião de Goes. There are also many intermediate stages. with thick impasto. Critical reception and posthumous reputation. presented features of Erasmianism and free thought. Emperor Rudolf II of Prague. they also reveal totally different pictorial styles—sometimes carefully painted. 1500 there seem to have been certain inherent ideological tendencies in Spanish aristocratic and court circles that. the triptychs of the Hermits and the Martyrdom of St Ontcommer and St John the Baptist in the Wilderness . it is possible to identify recurring patterns in individual groups of paintings. Fernando Alvárez de Toledo. associated with the Third Order of St Francis. while valid for certain groups. Filedt Kok further suggested that there may be a connection between the manner of drawing and the technique of the final painting. presenting them. for instance between foreground and background figures. Isabella the Catholic. imprisoned on a charge of heresy. The underdrawing on the outer wings is invisible throughout. from 1574. by the first half of the 16th century some humanist circles. prepared the way for an interest in one aspect of Bosch. Despite the fact that Bosch’s different styles of underdrawing and painting technique provide no help whatsoever in dating. For instance a fundamental similarity of technical execution exists between three of Bosch’s large triptychs: the ‘Garden of Earthly Delights ’. and their earliest centre. IV. the outer side of the Bruges Last Judgement . most of which have been lost. is contradicted by such works as the Crowning with Thorns . was at the house of Mencía de Mendoza in Guadalajara. Other 16th-century collectors of Bosch were Cardinal Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle (1530–86). The right wing is executed more rapidly. Margaret of Austria and Philip of Burgundy. in 1519. The Haywain and the Last Judgement . while the structure of the paint layer varies from moderate to very thick. suggests that Spanish interest in Bosch’s work may have been linked to a local tendency towards eschatologism and prophetism. with a thin layer of paint. . giving rise to the ‘Bosch myth’. also occur in the works of Bosch’s contemporaries and are easily explained by the degree of attention given to the various elements. which verged on heresy: the heretical group of the Alumbrados (Enlightened Ones). ranging from very careful to extremely casual. it was. To the first extreme belong. Another Bosch collector. This second conclusion. the left wing and central panel of the ‘Garden of Earthly Delights ’. that ‘El Bosco’ became a familiar name in art and literary writings until c. The myth was fundamentally twofold: an orthodox Bosch and a heretical one. to the monastery of the Escorial. that it is the very thinly painted panels that have the most precise underdrawing. Philip II of Spain who systematically procured important works by Bosch. This would mean that in Spanish and Spanish–Burgundian circles Bosch was approached one-sidedly from the beginning and was very soon ‘reinterpreted’ or endowed with a spurious content. the Death of the Miser . there were other collectors of Bosch’s works in the first half of the 16th century. transparent layer of paint. while not strictly heretical. and his illegitimate son Fernando de Toledo (d 1591). above all. In the 17th century Spanish royal collections were enriched by dozens more examples of Bosch’s works. It was in Spain. inclining to heterodoxy. Besides Philip the Fair. Just as Bosch’s paintings exhibit many styles of underdrawing. However. while the underdrawing is entirely or nearly invisible.

ed. Vasari: Vite (1550. van Mander: Schilder-boeck ([1603]–1604) J. above all. pp. ix (1963). Heidenreich: ‘Hieronymus Bosch in Some Literary Contexts’. Karel van Mander’s Schilderboeck that provided an appreciation of Bosch and information concerning some of his lost works. Miscellanea Jan Gessler. pp. & Court. P. A. Preuss. A. 444–57 . 1905). 1943) A. dozens of art theorists have kept alive Bosch’s fame in Spain. de Guevara: Comentarios de la pintura (MS. for example entremeses (short comic interludes) by Felix Lope de Vega (1562–1635). used his name. ed. rev. Homenaje a J. de Salas: ‘Más sobre El Bosco en España’. and although he was mentioned in the art literature of the 17th and 18th centuries. except in Spain. pp. Kstsamml. 108– 13 M. x (1889). Bosch then fell out of favour. Ceán Bermúdez in the late 18th. de Rivero (1947) X. Bibliography Ceán Bermúdez . Ebeling: ‘Jheronimus van Aken’. 1948). 141–4 J. 1560). de Sigüenza: Historia de la Orden de San Jerónimo (1605/ R Madrid. de Salas: El Bosco en la literatura española (Barcelona. 201–2 K. i (Antwerp. Jb. pp.. References to Bosch in Italian art treatises are briefer: he was mentioned by Guicciardini. Esp. pp. pp. 171–99 Documentary sources C. van Praag (Amsterdam. He was not rediscovered until the end of the 19th century. always as the embodiment of the fantastic. ed. G. Vasari and Lomazzo. absurd and grotesque. Lomazzo: Trattato dell’arte de la pittura. 2/1568). Justi: ‘Die Werke des Hieronymus Bosch in Spanien’. 41–4 L. 837ff A. Levisi: ‘Hieronymus Bosch y los Sueños de Francisco de Quevedo’. M. 1844). pp. Many literary works. . Ambrosio de Morales and Fray José de Sigüenza in the 16th century and the early 17th to Antonio Ponz and J. pp.From Felipe de Guevara. A. Thieme–Becker Early sources G. Ponz (Madrid. Warb. J. c. (Rome. In the Netherlands it was. Inst. 117–38 X. scultura ed architettura (MS.. Ponz: Viaje (1772–94 ). it was without special enthusiasm. Guicciardini: Descrittione di …tutti Paesi Bassi (1567) G. 1788). EWA .. . ii. when his apocalyptic vision began to be appreciated for new reasons. pp. Milanesi (1878–85) F. 1956). C. xxviii (1955). 163–200 H. xxxiii (1970). A. Salazar: ‘El Bosco y Ambrosio de Morales’. Filología . Archv. 1584). ed.

1941. 1129–65 [the van Aken family in Nijmegen and ’s Hertogenbosch. Jheronimus Bosch: Bijdragen bij gelegenheid van de herdenkingstentoonstelling te ’s Hertogenbosch 1967 [Essays on the occasion of the memorial exhibition at ’s Hertogenbosch 1967]. Rotterdam. cxxxi/1039 (1989). Lafond: Hieronymus Bosch (Brussels and Paris. pp. 5–41 [with ref. pp. 119–33 B. to Gibson] Monographic studies P. Cinotti: L’opera completa di Hieronimus Bosch (Milan. ii (1973). 1967–76) Jeroen Bosch (exh. G. 183–93 F. 1978) [best illus] R. pp. v (Berlin. Vandenbroeck: ‘Rudolf II als verzamelaar van werk van en naar Jheronimus Bosch’. Jb. 52 [suppl. by D. Buzzati and M. 1973). 95–104 . Snyder: Bosch in Perspective (Englewood Cliffs. Jheronimus Bosch: Bijdragen bij gelegenheid van de herdenkingstentoonstelling te ’s Hertogenbosch 1967 .A. xvi (1967). Marijnissen and P. de Tolnay: Hieronymus Bosch . C. pp. 1987) [does not cover lost works. of pt 2. Gorissen: Das Stundenbuch der Katharina von Kleve: Analyse und Kommentar (Berlin. 109–16 P. to 1983] P. 1966) Jheronimus Bosch (exh. NJ. pt 1. Ruyffelaere: Jheronimus Bosch (Antwerp. B. cat. ed. 699–700 Bibliographies W. von Baldass: Hieronymus Bosch (Vienna. Harbison (Boston. Brabantia . S. S. Campina . Mus. c. Gibson: Hieronymus Bosch: An Annotated Bibliography .. Blondé and H. Gerlach: ‘Oirschot en de familie vanden Meervenne’. pp. 1967) W. xiv (1986). . van Gelder. Krit. concentrates on the artist’s religious work] . 1914) M. K. 1927). Gerlach: ‘Jheronimus van Aken alias Bosch en de Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-Broederschap’. MA. Vandenbroeck: ‘Über neuere Bosch-Literatur’. 6th ser. 1973) J. with geneaological charts and transcriptions of the relevant docs] P.. K. tapestries or graphic work. 48–60 J. ’s Hertogenbosch. Hannema and J. trans. pt 2. Friedländer: Die altniederländische Malerei . cat. Vlieghe: ‘The Social Status of Hieronymus Bosch’. 1965) D. Noordbrabants Mus. pp. p. Ber. pp. Gaz. trans. pp. 1350–1516. 1973) S. Mag. Boon and others.: Kon. 2/1959) C. Steppe: ‘Jheronimus Bosch: Bijdragen tot de historische en de ikonografische studie van zijn werk’. lxxi (1968). 1983) [for the lit. Takashika: The Complete Work of Jheronimus Bosch (Tokyo. 1936) L. to edns of Spanish royal inventories and others] P. Fr. . Eng. Boymans. 1100–08. Kst. Gerlach: ‘De bronnen voor het leven en het werk van Jeroen Bosch’ [Sources for the life and work of Hieronymus Bosch]. 2 vols (Baden-Baden. Mus. pp. ed. 58–65. Burl. Gibson: Hieronymus Bosch (London.P. . as Early Netherlandish Painting (Leiden. J. (1981).. G.

pp. Bol. Jb. as Hieronymus Bosch: His Picture Writing Deciphered (Rotterdam.. Bax: Ontcijfering van Jeroen Bosch (The Hague. Inst. pp.: Kon. 107–19 M. 1979) D. trans. 1990) P. Kst. pp. (1989). Sonkes: ‘Le Dessin sous-jacent chez les primitifs flamands’. Acad. Eng.: Kl. 9–192 A. S. Gaz. nos 1456–7 . vi (1972–3 ). Acad. A. B. Vandenbroeck: ‘Problèmes concernant l’oeuvre de Jheronimus Bosch: Le Dessin sous-jacent en relation avec l’authenticité et la chronologie’. 72–9 M. van Schoute: ‘El tríptico de la Adoración de los magos de Hieronymus van Aeken Bosch: Estudio técnico’. vi (1985). Anlct. cxv (May–June 1990).P. Kst. pp. pp. 191–212 W. Prado . Simiolus . lxiii/2 (1956) [whole issue devoted to iconog. van Schoute: ‘Over de techniek van Jeroen Bosch’. pp. Kst. Filedt Kok: ‘Underdrawing and Drawing in the Work of Hieronymus Bosch: A Provisional Survey in Connection with Paintings by him in Rotterdam’. Mus.-A. xviii (1991). U. 1987) E..: Kon. van Schoute: ‘Les Péchés capitaux de Jérôme Bosch au Musée du Prado . .: Kl. pp. Larksen: Hieronymus Bosch: Catalogo completo (Florence. study of the ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ ] J. Jb. Bax: ‘Hieronymus Bosch and Lucas Cranach: Two Last Judgement Triptychs. del Carmen Garrido and R. Catholique. Sutd. 1981 . Anlct. Bax: ‘Beschrijving en poging tot verklaring van het Tuin der Onkuisheiddrieluik van Jeroen Bosch. Vandenbroeck: Jheronimus Bosch: Tussen volksleven en stadscultuur [Hieronymus Bosch: between the life of the people and urban culture] (Berchem and Antwerp. 221–58 G. Description and Exposition’. 1998) Iconography D. S. (1990). pp. Fifteenth Cent. Jheronimus Bosch: Bijdragen bij gelegenheid van de herdenkingstentoonstelling te ’s Hertogenbosch 1967 [Essays on the occasion of the memorial exhibition at ’s Hertogenbosch 1967]. Simonson: ‘On Spiritual Creativity in Hieronymus Bosch’. Le Dessin sous-jacent dans la peinture. Bergman: ‘The Garden of Love: A Neoplatonic Interpretation of Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights Triptych’. Clark: Bosch’s Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness and the Artist’s ‘Fleurs du Mal’ (Princeton. P.. 195–225 J. gevolgd door kritiek op Fraenger’. Mus. 133–62 P. Jouffroy: ‘Le Jardin des Délices’ de Jérôme Bosch: Grandeur nature (Paris. Vandenbroeck: ‘Jheronimus Bosch’ zogenaamde Tuin der Lusten : II’. 1994) Technique R. S. 1977) [good illustrations] D. 59–77 M. S. Colloque IV: Leuven. 9–210 M. cxvii (1982) [whole issue] P. . Vandenbroeck: ‘Jheronimus Bosch’ zogenaamde Tuin der Lusten : I’ [Hieronymus Bosch’s so-called Garden of Earthly Delights: I].-P. del Carmen Garrido and R. Mus. pp. Kst.: Hieronymus Bosch and the Vision of Hell in the Late Middle Ages (Tokyo. 1949). xii (1970). Gibson. Bull. Royal Patrm.

Colloque VI: Leuven. Le Dessin sous-jacent dans la peinture. 1985 . . pp. 103–6 Paul Vandenbroeck Copyright © Oxford University Press 2007 — 2011. Catholique.à Madrid: Etude téchnologique. U. premières considérations’.