Bosch Mania

Morgan Meis in The Easel:

The_Garden_of_Earthly_Delights_by_BoschThis year is shaping up to be downright Boschian. We are speaking here of Hieronymus Bosch, the painter. 2016 happens to mark the five-hundred-year anniversary of Bosch’s death. So, Bosch’s home and eponymous town, Den Bosch (or, more correctly but much harder to say, ‘s-Hertogenbosch), has assembled the largest retrospective of Bosch’s work ever to be exhibited. The exhibit (Jheronimus Bosch – Visions of a Genius) is at the Noordbrabants Museum through May 8th. Such is public demand to see the show that this normally sedate regional museum has extended its opening hours until past midnight. And Bosch mania will not end there. The Prado in Madrid, for example, is hosting its own blockbuster Bosch exhibit beginning at the end of May and running into September. The crowds at the Noordbrabants Museum and the activity in the global press suggests that Bosch is more relevant, more interesting to the public mind than ever. Bosch mania is set to peak at the same time as the heat of the Northern summer, with festival events scheduled throughout the summer.

This extraordinary level of interest is generated by the simple fact that whosoever sees the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch does not soon, it is safe to say, forget them. That’s because they are fantastic works of art. There’s so much going on in a typical Bosch painting (more on that later) that the eye cannot but dart around, taking in the strange imagery. For that reason, Bosch’s work was popular from the very beginning—that beginning being the 15th century, when Bosch was alive and painting away in the lands of Northern Europe we now call The Netherlands. Throughout the ensuing years, Bosch’s star waxed and waned, but his work never passed out of public consciousness completely. Then, in the early part of the 20th century, he was “rediscovered” in full force. The 20th century public loved the outrageous scenarios to be found in Hieronymus Bosch’s paintings, artists especially. Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, and Leonora Carrington explicitly referenced Bosch in their own work, just to name a few.

More here.