Hieronymus Bosch, who is also called Jeroen Bosch, lived in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (also known as Den Bosch) from 1450 to 1516. In 2016, 500 years after Hieronymus Bosch died, the Art Center will organize a range of special exhibitions and activities. The entire town has become a virtual museum. Bosch is everywhere…
Interesting that in the painter’s native town no original paintings of the master remains. Not a single item. Thus it looked like an impossible dream that this provincial Dutch city will be able to collect enough items for the anniversary exhibition. However, from February 13 to May 8 of this year, 20 paintings and 19 drawings by Bosch arrived from Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Holland and the USA.
From Paris (Louvre) came Ship of Fools. Death and the Miser arrived from Washington.The Haywain Triptich (The Hay Wagon) left Spain (Prado) for the first time in 500 years. In spite of fears that the “non-touristic” ‘s-Hertogenbosch will not attract visitors, the exhibition tickets were sold in the first two weeks.
There is a deep symbolism in the fact that after five centuries after Bosch’s death his art came back to the city where it was created. Nearly everything that is known about the life of Hieronymus Bosch is closely linked to ‘s-Hertogenbosch, his hometown. Here, around 1450, Jeroen van Aken was born in a family of painters. Here, at the age of thirty, he got married and lived in ‘s-Hertogenbosch all his comfortable, filled with creativity life.
There is a mystery about Hieronymus Bosch: How could a little-traveled provincial painter, who lived away from the major art centers and never made any long journeys, so acutely feel the nerve of his era? Where have he picked up a truly comprehensive knowledge that makes his paintings an encyclopedia of the 15th century life: science, medicine, alchemy, architecture, military, craft, shipbuilding, folklore, music, fashion, flora and fauna? In search of answers, we again return to ‘s-Hertogenbosch.The city center, although 500 years passed since the master’s death, still remains timelessly unchanged. Bosch, should he’d miraculously reappeared on one of the side streets, would’ve been able to find the way to his father’s house on the market square and its own workshop nearby, without much difficulty. Just as 500 years ago, on market days, the square is overflowing with flowers, cheeses and fish, the water is gurgling in the medieval fountain, and the bells of the cathedral toll by the hour.
One of the major attractions is the Gothic St. John’s Cathedral, one of the finest Gothic churches of the Netherlands. During the life of Bosch the cathedral was nearly completed. 16 exterior arches — double flying buttresses — are decorated with 96 stone sculptures, wonderfully alive, truly “boschian.” Artisans, musicians, fantastic beasts and birds… Bosch must have seen them, remembered from childhood, flying buttresses of the cathedral with their riders — like the bridge from ‘s-Hertogenbosch to the creativity of her famous native.
From ‘s-Hertogenbosch Bosch exhibition will travel to Madrid, the Prado Museum. The Prado’s Bosch exhibit will show off virtually all the paintings and graphics of the master.