Sunday, 4 October 2015

Jheronimous Bosch


Next year will mark the 500th anniversary of the death of artist Jheronimous Bosch well known for his strange paintings. His home town 'S Hertogenbosch in the southern Netherlands, or Den Bosch for short, is preparing for this special occasion with festivals and celebrations which will take place from February to May.

Bosch was born in 1450 into a family of artists, his Grandfather was Jan Van Aken. There are few recorded details about his life and the chronology of his works but he was known to be painting by 1470, married into wealth and became a powerful landowner and a member of the Swan Confraternity who worked for charity. He was an orthodox Catholic and his paintings are mainly religious or moral allegories. Perspective was not a vital aspect of his work as the message was all important. As Queen Isabella and King Phillip II of Spain were big devotees of his work, a lot of his paintings are now located at the Prado in Spain.

Although a fine artist, he chose to paint in a different, quite surreal, way to others at the time, using his imagination and influences from woodcuts, Psalters and gargoyles in his work. The hidden clues of the pieces have to be found and worked out to understand the meaning he wanted to portray. They are packed full with detail and need to be studied close up.

If you look at his famous work, the Garden of Earthly Delights, among the mayhem are some beautifully painted birds. The first panel painted in pastel colours shows the Garden of Eden, the second panel the over excess of earthly pleasures painted in jewel colours and the third panel in lurid colours shows Hell. It is thought by some that the person shown in Hell is a self portrait. The first and third panels fold over the second to show a grisaille picture of the creation of the world just before Man was created.

Rather than put that picture on the blog, here is The Magician which shows the folly of the audience compared to the shrewdness of the Magician. The emotions of the people are clearly shown and we instantly see the scam as ours eyes are drawn to the pickpocketing by the whiteness of the clothing.

The Carrying of the Cross was painted in around 1510/16. It shows Christ carrying a large cross surrounded by evil shown in the faces of the people around him. Only Veronica looks pale and calm.

This is only a brief introduction to the artist and his work from a lecture I went to during the week.

Back tomorrow with those promised flowers from Keukenhof!
Bye for now


  1. Really interesting post, I had seen a couple of his paintings but didn't know anything about him.

  2. A fascinating post, thank you for sharing more about this artist. xx