Trivia

Header Photo: The Garden of Earthly Delights, c. 1503 (Detail from inner right wing, Hell).
View panel here. A huge scan so just start from the top and slowly take in all the splendours. Astonishing experience.
© Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

Hieronymus Bosch: Trivia

Hieronymus Bosch: Biography I - Biography II - Gallery - Trivia

Hieronymus Bosch Reviews: Garden of Earthly Delights - The Conjurer - Seven Deadly Sins

Hieronymus Bosch Wares: Bosch Canvas Prints - Bosch Parastone Sculptures - Bosch Official Cards - Bosch 2015 Calendar - Bosch Posters - Bosch Complete Works Book Review - Bosch (Taschen Basic Art Series)

Bosch Links: Bosch Sculptures @ ebay.com (direct link to sculptures) - just checked and a bigger selection than I have seen anywhere else - Advertise here - Hieronymus Bosch Books available @ amazon.com (direct link) - Search Site For other Artists


Hieronymus Bosch ~ Trivia

Random facts from a random mind on a random genius.

The Best Bosch Book: Hieronymus Bosch. The Complete Works

Bosch became a wealthy man selling his paintings.

Turned the multipaneled forms of his work into popular entertainment.

Was the godfather of 20th century Surrealism.

Told Bible stories through grotesque symbols.

Bosch was from s'Hertogenbosch. In his time there were trade societies (guilds) where members worked on a single craft. These guilds also acted as trade unions. They set the professionals standards and were also responsible for the pricing of works. Moreover, they organized the training of apprentices in childhood. These apprentices became journeymen or assistants in youth, and masters in adult life. It was the licensed master's responsibility to take on apprentices, hire journeymen and organise contracts for production. These guilds could build up considerable wealth and could flex their muscles in politics. The political authority they could flex against was invariably inherited nobility. It is this way of life that Bosch would have known. He would have bought his food and clothing from guild shops of bakers, buthchers and tailors.

Little is known of his life but we know Bosch died in 1516 because there are historical documents that chronicle his later life.

He lived and died in 's Hertogenbosch in North Brabant. North Brabant's a woodland province isolated between modern Belgium and the Netherlands. In Bosch's time it was under the control of the Duke of Burgundy. There are records that show that Bosch's family lived in 's Hertogenbosch for two centuries under the name of van Aken. This name suggests they came from Aachen, Germany.

Bosch was the son of a successful artisan family. That being so it is likely he was educated at one of the Latin schools in Den Bosch. His life coincided with the printing press and he would have access to a number of books.

's Hertogenbosch, also called Den Bosch, was a manufacturing center known for its cloth and metal works. It boasted a Gothic Cathedral.

There, Bosch's grandfather, father, uncles and brothers all worked as painters.

Bosch seems to have spent most of his life in the town.

With the fall of Burgundy after 1477, Brabant became part of the Netherlands.

Death and the Miser was probaly executed in the early 1490s. The theme: "no one escapes death". It is here you see him growing in self confidence as an artist and here he reveals a greater daring in inventing monstrous creatures.

In Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness, Bosch tackles landscape problems, in particularly the middle-ground transition. It revealed Bosch's new use of darker colours, richer shadows and a soft atmospheric tone in the distant landscape.

Well over half of his pictures are devoted to traditional Christian subjects.

The Epihany is in Philadelphia and the Ecce Homo is in Philadelphia. His Nativity is now lost but there is a decent copy in Cologne.

He was influenced by Hugo van der Goes.

Born Jhieronmous van Aken.

In 1481 he married a wealthy woman.

Bosch never dated any of his pieces.

From 1480, Bosch was registered in Den Bosch as a painter. Patrons included Margaret of Austria (1480-1530).

Most of Bosch's works were painted on panel, or wood (oak in all of Bosch's work).

In Bosch's day, his hometown, 's-Hertogenbosch was the third largest town in Brabant, after Antwerp and Brussels.

Quote: "The difference between the pictures of Bosch and those of other masters consists, in my opinion, in the fact that others mostly paint Man as he appears from without, wheras Bosch shows Man's inner nature."
- FRAY JOSE SIGUENZA, c. 1540.

In the absence of hard fact there are alot of fascinating theoires on the life of Bosch. There have even been attempts to link him with various religious heresies which existed during the Middle Ages. William Fraenger has proposed that Bosch was a member of the Brethren of the Free Spirit, a heretical group which was popular throughout Europe foe several hundred years. Fascinating but again there is little fact to work on.

There are always more questions than answers with Bosch. If we are to assume that in The Garden of Earthly Delights we see depictions of Paradise, Earth and Hell then where is The Flood in the right panel? Where is the fiery pit of Hell we are so accustomed to and why is it Earth itself in flames?

It is safe to say that The Garden of Earthly Delights was completed well after 1500, fairly late in his career. I say 'safe' because no other picture of his has ussed such vivid imagery or revealed such complexity. It just has to be the work of a mature artist or is that just me willing it to be the case?

Phillip II of Spain (1527-98) collected his workin the middle of the 16th century. Indeed, he collected every important Bosch he could find. The best place in the world by a country mile to study his strange and beautiful world is Museo del Prado in Madrid. In one of the upper galleries they have three major altarpieces and several smaller pictures by Bosch and his workshop.

It's worth noting that in the years after his death, imitating Bosch had become a cottage industry in the Netherlands. Pieter Brueghel (c. 1525-69) began his career in the mid-century as a brilliant imitator of Bosch.

Andre Breton, godfather and main man of Surrealism, saw in the work of Hieronymus Bosch: "a strange marriage of fideism and revolt."

Further Reading: Hieronymus Bosch (Essential Series)

Title:  The Carrying of the Cross, Detail. 
Artist: Bosch
Hieronymus Bosch
The Carrying of the Cross, (Detail)

Hieronymus Bosch Links

Hieronymus Bosch: Trivia

Hieronymus Bosch: Biography I - Biography II - Gallery - Trivia

Hieronymus Bosch Reviews: Garden of Earthly Delights - The Conjurer - Seven Deadly Sins

Hieronymus Bosch Wares: Bosch Canvas Prints - Bosch Parastone Sculptures - Bosch Official Cards - Bosch 2015 Calendar - Bosch Posters - Bosch Complete Works Book Review - Bosch (Taschen Basic Art Series)

Bosch Links: Bosch Sculptures @ ebay.com (direct link to sculptures) - just checked and a bigger selection than I have seen anywhere else - Advertise here - Hieronymus Bosch Books available @ amazon.com (direct link)

Advertise here

Top of Page - Search Site

Releases & Links

Bosch biog. here. Gallery here. Bosch Canvas prints here.

Bosch Treasures


Bosch 2015 (Wall Calendars 2015)
Enlarge Image

Hieronymus Bosch. The Complete Works (Taschen)

Website design/enquiries: Lenin