Today I introduce my latest artist obsession – Hieronymus Bosch. Now, I admittedly know very little about Bosch (apparently no one does)*, but what I’ve seen of his works, he deserves much more attention than he gets (plus, how great is his name?). He lived and painted during the Renaissance period (1450 – 1516), and while others were painting lovely Madonnas or venturing as far as “Venus” and “Spring,” Hieronymus was painting fish-headed-demon creatures and cave houses growing from people’s rear-ends (in all fairness, he did also paint some “normal” looking religious scenes). His art seems to be closer to the surreal genre of Salvador Dalí, who painted almost 500 years later, than to his contemporaries. Where did this guy’s imagination come from?!?!?! You can literally spend hours looking at all the weird creatures in any one of his triptychs (3-paneled paintings) – they are mind-blowing!
I discovered Hieronymus a few years ago and was looking forward with great anticipation to seeing one of his more famous works at the museum in Brugge (The Last Judgment) when we were there in January. Alas, after we were already in the museum, we learned that The Last Judgement, and almost all of his paintings, are currently on loan to a museum in the Netherlands for the single largest showing of his work ever. (Though the Prado in Madrid was not willing to part with the most famous work – The Garden of Earthly Delights (links to interactive tour!)). I was sooooo disappointed! To help sate my new-found obsession with Bosch, Steve got me a GIANT (11 pounds) book of his complete works for my birthday – so when I learn more I will certainly share, but for now check out a few of his creations (as photographed out of my book, photo 1):
* “Very little is known about the artist Hieronymus Bosch. His date of birth, thoughts, writings, personality, and the meaning of his art have all been lost to time. What is left, though, is a series of paintings that defy the imagination as well as any set art form before him.” Wikiart.