(Smithsonian) Even 500 Years After His Death, Hieronymus Bosch Hasn’t Lost His Appeal

Visitors at the press preview of the Bosch retrospective.

Visitors at the press preview of the Bosch retrospective. Photo: Menachem Wecker


My article “Even 500 Years After His Death, Hieronymus Bosch Hasn’t Lost His Appeal” appears in Smithsonian magazine. Here’s the lede:

The Dutch city Hertogenbosch, colloquially referred to as “Den Bosch,” remains remarkably similar today to its layout during the medieval age. Similar enough, says mayor Tom Rombouts, that the city’s celebrated native son, painter Hieronymus Bosch, if somehow revived, could still find his way blindfolded through the streets.

This year, timed to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Bosch’s death, Den Bosch is hosting the largest-ever retrospective of the renowned and fanciful eschatological painter who borrowed from his hometown’s name to create a new one for himself. The exhibition, “Hieronymus Bosch: Visions of Genius,” held at Den Bosch’s Het Noordbrabants Museum gathers 19 of 24 known paintings and some 20 drawings by the master (c. 1450-1516). Several dozen works by Bosch’s workshop, followers, and other of his contemporaries provide further context in the exhibit.

What makes this exhibit even more extraordinary is that none of Bosch’s works reside permanently in Den Bosch. In the run-up to the exhibit, the Bosch Research and Conservation Project engaged in a multi-year, careful study of as much of the Bosch repertoire as it could get its hands on. In news that made headlines in the art world, the researchers revealed that “The Temptation of St. Anthony,” a painting in the collection of Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art — believed not to be an actual Bosch — was painted by Bosch himself and that several works at the Museo del Prado in Spain were actually painted by his workshop (his students.)

The full article appears here.

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