If you have never heard of the name Hieronymus Bosch, you’ve missed quite a mysterious and bizarre part of the art
world. This is a high time for all detective-lovers and fans of everything supernatural (not the TV show).
Hieronymus Bosch (1450 – 1516) was a Dutch painter who lived in the medieval times and was a painter, obviously. We know very little of him; Bosch spent most of his life in the small town ’s-Hertogenbosch in the South of Netherlands. He left no diaries, no notes or any personal information whatsoever. There are only a few notes about him in the account books and town records of ’s-Hertogenbosch. He didn’t even name his paintings, they were named by catalogers. With only 25 paintings and 8 drawings that are assuredly belonged to Hieronymus Bosch, he managed to made such an enormous influence on the
northern art as well as on the contemporary one. Moreover, his works and oeuvre has been a puzzle which scientists, technicians and art historians tried to solve for decades.
Before we jump into any conclusions, let’s take a look at some of Bosch’s most famous works and their details.
There is no words for describing these images! Eccentric, extraordinary, fantastic, erotic even! Indeed, with our modern, supersaturated vision we find Bosch’s paintings outrageous and quite explicit, could you imagine they were painted over 500 hundred years ago, in the times of totalitarian control of the church, witch-hunt, and puritanical morals? So, what’s going on here? Why they are so odd and include so many fantastic images, as well as Biblical references?
We will not pretend that you will get all the answers in this article. In fact, nobody has them yet. But we can suggest that some questions can be answered.
Obviously, every painting tells us some kind of a story. But what is it about? Is it about
heresy, and Bosch had been secretly involved with some forbidden societies? Or may be it is about the sin, and Bosch was a faithful man who tried to worn us of the consequences? Is it a witchcraft? Is it about some alchemical practices that were encrypted in his paintings? You are not the only one asking these questions.
Nicholas Baum had the same queries in mind, when he accidentally saw Bosch’s works in The Prado Museum, in Madrid. Baum was so impressed and puzzled by the paintings, that he went on searching for some explanation. And to his amusement, there were not many of them. So since middle 50s he had begun his investigations.
The great thing about this documentary, that its author, Nicholas Baum, was not an art historian or any other kind of specialist. He was a concerned man astonished by the mystery of Bosch’s oeuvre and was seeking for some answers. His research brings us on a journey through Hieronymus Bosch’s homeland and everyday life, his coevals’ traditions and believes; and Baum made some successful suggestions on the nature of Bosch’s works.
We will not give out the details and finale, but this documentary certainly looks like a detective. Therefore, any spoilers are not welcomed in this case; and note that you will not get all of the answers, some will remain a mystery. But we do have some other exciting material. There will be another study of the
Hieronymus Bosch’s oeuvre –
Bosch, Touched by the Devil.” this is the most recent documentary with five specialists trying to go deeper into the Bosch’s art world with a help of cutting-edge technologies and new-found facts.
The paintings of Hieronymus Bosch are so complex and perplexing even for our crazy modern times, that they had left amused many generation of art-critics and historians. Whatever answers we may find, he will still be considered as the most mysterious artist ever lived. And who knows, may be in the future somebody will be amused and confused by the Marvel Comics. Only time will have all of the answers.