Jheronimus Bosch and the Issue of Origins

Jheronimus Bosch seems like such an unprecedented original that accounting for his art requires going beyond the Flemish fifteenth-century visual culture that preceded him. Essentially, Bosch broke with that earlier paradigm of accessible holy figures and images that featured prayer-and-response. Instead, Bosch favored an emphasis on the presence of evil in the world and on the remoteness of the holy figures, dominated by a Christ who had suffered at human hands and would return to be severely just at the Last Judgment. This outlook is epitomized by Bosch’s emphasis in several major triptychs depicting the Fall of Humankind in the Garden of Eden. But the artist goes further: he locates the ultimate source of evil at an even earlier stage, as occurring in the skies above Eden, in the Fall of the Rebel Angels, led by Lucifer.

DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2009.1.1.5

Acknowledgements

This article is intended in grateful memorial tribute to the late Prof. Dr. Carol Purtle, esteemed colleague and treasured friend, as well as the matriarch and first president of the Historians of Netherlandish Art. Her lifelong dedication to Catholic Church traditions, in close dialogue with meticulous inspection of Netherlandish paintings, has inspired all of her peers. I dare to hope that this use of Saint Augustine, Milton, and medieval typologists would have pleased her.

Jheronimus Bosch,  Saint Jerome in Prayer,  Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent
Fig. 1 Jheronimus Bosch, Saint Jerome in Prayer, oil on panel, 80.1 x 60.6 cm. Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent, inv. no. 1908-H (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Jheronimus Bosch,  Creation of the World, exterior, Garden of Eart,  Museo del Prado, Madrid
Fig. 2 Jheronimus Bosch, Creation of the World, exterior, Garden of Earthly Delights triptych, oil on panel, 220 x 389 cm. Museo del Prado, Madrid, inv. no. P02823 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Limbourg Brothers,  Fall of the Rebel Angels (fol. 64v) from Très,  Musée Condé, Chantilly
Fig. 3 Limbourg Brothers, Fall of the Rebel Angels (fol. 64v) from Très Riches Heures, illumination on vellum, 290 x 210 mm. Musée Condé, Chantilly, inv. no. MS. 65, fol. 64v (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
 Separation of Light from Darkness and Fall of ,  Bodleian Library, Oxford
Fig. 4 Separation of Light from Darkness and Fall of the Rebel Angels from Bible moralisée, illuminated manuscript, 419 x 292 mm. Bodleian Library, Oxford, inv. no. Ms 270b, fol. 2v (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
 Fall of the Rebel Angels and Creation of Eve ,  Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris
Fig. 5 Fall of the Rebel Angels and Creation of Eve from Speculum humanae salvationis, illumination on vellum, 41 x 28.5 cm. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, inv. no. Ms. fr. 6275, fol. 2v (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Master Bertram,  Fall of the Rebel Angels, detail from the Grabow,  ca. 1389,  Kunsthalle, Hamburg
Fig. 6 Master Bertram, Fall of the Rebel Angels, detail from the Grabow Altarpiece, ca. 1389, paint on wood, 277 x 726 cm. Kunsthalle, Hamburg, inv. no. 500 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Albrecht Dürer,  Fall of the Rebel Angels, detail from Apocalyps,  ca. 1498,
Fig. 7 Albrecht Dürer, Fall of the Rebel Angels, detail from Apocalypse, ca. 1498, woodcut, 39.4 x 28.3 cm (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Gerard David,  Saint Michael altarpiece,  ca. 1505-10,  Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
Fig. 8 Gerard David, Saint Michael altarpiece, ca. 1505-10, oil on wood, 66 x 53 cm. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, inv. no. GG 4056 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Pieter Bruegel the Elder,  Fall of the Rebel Angels,  ca. 1562,  Musées royaux des beaux-arts de Belgique, Brussels
Fig. 9 Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Fall of the Rebel Angels, ca. 1562, oil on oak, 117 x 162 cm. Musées royaux des beaux-arts de Belgique, Brussels, inv. no. GG 4056 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Jheronimus Bosch,  Apocalypse by Fire,  Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
Fig. 10 Jheronimus Bosch, Apocalypse by Fire, oil on panel, 69 x 35 cm. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, inv. no. St. 27 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Jheronimus Bosch,  Noah's Ark after the Flood,  Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
Fig. 11 Jheronimus Bosch, Noah’s Ark after the Flood, oil on panel, 69 x 38 cm. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, inv. no. St. 28 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Jheronimus Bosch,  Fall of the Rebel Angels, detail from Garden of,  Museo del Prado, Madrid
Fig. 12 Jheronimus Bosch, Fall of the Rebel Angels, detail from Garden of Eden, left shutter, Haywain triptych, oil on panel, 147 x 45 cm. Museo del Prado, Madrid, inv. no. P02052 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Jheronimus Bosch,  Presentation of Eve to Adam, detail from Garden,  Museo del Prado, Madrid
Fig. 13 Jheronimus Bosch, Presentation of Eve to Adam, detail from Garden of Eden, left shutter, Garden of Earthly Delights triptych, oil on panel, 220 x 97 cm. Museo del Prado, Madrid, inv. no. P02823 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Jheronimus Bosch,  Fall of the Rebel Angels, detail from Garden of,  Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna
Fig. 14 Jheronimus Bosch, Fall of the Rebel Angels, detail from Garden of Eden, left shutter, Last Judgment altarpiece, oil on panel, 164 x 60 cm. Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna, inv. nos. 579-581 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Jheronimus Bosch,  Fall of the Rebel Angels, detail from center pan,  Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna
Fig. 15 Jheronimus Bosch, Fall of the Rebel Angels, detail from center panel, Last Judgment altarpiece, oil on panel, 164 x 127 cm. Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna, inv. nos. 579-581 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Jheronimus Bosch,  Ecce Homo,  Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt
Fig. 16 Jheronimus Bosch, Ecce Homo, tempera and oil on oak panel, 71 x 61 cm. Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt, inv. no. 1577 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Jheronimus Bosch, Haywain triptych, detail from center panel,  Museo del Prado, Madrid
Fig. 17 Jheronimus Bosch, detail from center panel, Haywain triptych, oil on panel, 147 x 190 cm. Museo del Prado, Madrid, inv. no. P02052 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Jheronimus Bosch,  Death of the Miser,  National Gallery of Art,  National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Fig. 18 Jheronimus Bosch, Death of the Miser, oil on panel, 93 x 31 cm. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., inv. no. 1952.5.33 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Pieter Bruegel the Elder,  Luxuria,  ca. 1557,  Bibliothèque royale de Belgique, cabinet des estampes, Brussels
Fig. 19 Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Luxuria, ca. 1557, ink drawing, 22.6 x 29.7 cm. Bibliothèque royale de Belgique, cabinet des estampes, Brussels, inv. no. S. II 132 816 fol C (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
  1. 1. Larry Silver, Hieronymus Bosch (New York: Abbeville, 2006), with select bibliography.

  2. 2. I single out the perspicacious remarks by Paul Huys Janssen, Burlington Magazine 149 (Feb. 2007): 110-11.

  3. 3. The Antwerp bell shape appears in Bosch’s Martyrdom of a Female Saint (Venice) and his Epiphany (Madrid) as well as the Bosch workshop Last Judgment triptych (Bruges, Groeninge Museum).

  4. 4. Craig Harbison, The Last Judgment in Sixteenth Century Northern Painting  (New York: Garland, 1976).

  5. 5. Silver, Hieronymus Bosch. For general thoughts on origins and originality, I have benefited greatly from the theorizing of Edward Said, Beginnings: Intention and Method (New York: Basic Books, 1975).

  6. 6. For much of this thinking, I am indebted to the important work on Bosch by Yona Pinson as well as stimulating conversations with a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, Kevin Kriebel. Yona Pinson, “Fall of the Angels and Creation of Eve in Bosch’s Eden: Meaning and Iconographical Sources,” in Flanders in a European Perspective: Manuscript Illumination around 1400 in Flanders and Abroad, ed. Maurits Smeyers and Bert Cardon (Louvain: Peeters, 1995), 693-707.

  7. 7. See also City of God, Book 13, Chapter 24: “So, too, the rebellious angels, though by sinning they did in a sense die, because they forsook God, the Fountain of life, which while they drank they were able to live wisely and well, yet they could not so die as to utterly cease living and feeling, for they are immortals by creation. And so, after the final judgment, they shall be hurled into the second death, and not even there be deprived of life or of sensation, but shall suffer torment.”

  8. 8. See Luther Link, The Devil (New York: Abrams, 1996), esp. 22-30; and Karl-August Wirth, “Engelsturz,” in Reallexikon zur deutschen Kunstgeschichte, vol. 5 [1960], col. 621-74. More generally, Jeffrey Burton Russell, Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1984).

  9. 9. J. Lutz and Paul Perdrizet, Speculum humanae salvationis: Text critique (Leipzig: C. Beck, 1907); Adrian and Joyce Lancaster Wilson, A Medieval Mirror: Speculum Humanae Salvationis, 1324-1500 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984).

  10. 10. See the general paired layouts of the Speculum, described for both manuscripts and incunabula by Wilson and Wilson, Medieval Mirror, 60. A good American example from the mid-fifteenth century is at the Newberry Library in Chicago (ms. 40).

  11. 11. “Lucifer ergo erexit se contra Creatorem suum, Deum aeternum, / Et in icto oculi de excelso coelorum projectus est in infernum, / Et ob hanc causam decrevit Deus genus humanum creare, /Ut per ipsum posset casum Luciferi et sociorum ejus restaurare.” The translation is by Elizabeth Healy Dube.

  12. 12. Dirk Bax, Hieronymus Bosch and Lucas Cranach: The Last Judgment Triptychs (Amsterdam and New York: North-Holland, 1983), 22. On the author and his context, see Frits van Oostrom, Court and Culture: Dutch Literature, 1350-1450, trans. Arnold Pomerans (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992; 1st ed., 1987), 172-218.

  13. 13. Christian Beutler, Meister Bertram Der Hochaltar von Sankt Petri (Frankfurt: Fischer, 1984), esp. 26-29. See also Elizabeth Healy Dube, The Grabow Altar of Master Bertram von Minden, unpublished PhD diss. (Brown University, 1982), esp. 59-81; Georg Kauffmann, “Meister Bertrams Engelsturz,” in Studies in Late Medieval and Renaissance Painting in Honor of Millard Meiss, ed. Irving Lavin and John Plummer (New York: New York University Press, 1977), 249-60.

  14. 14. enilde Vervoort, “The Pestilent Toad: The Significance of the Toad in the Works of Bosch,” in Hieronymus Bosch: New Insights into His Life and Work, ed. Jos Koldeweij and Bernard Vermet (Rotterdam: Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, 2001), 145-51.

  15. 15. Vervoort, “Pestilent Toad,” 146n17, notes that a similar toad appears in the Fall of the Rebel Angels in the Mayer van den Bergh Breviary, attributed to Simon Bening (fol. 552v; ca. 1510).

  16. 16. Dirk Bax, Bosch and Cranach, 21-72.

  17. 17. Siegfried Wenzel, “The Three Enemies of Man,” Medieval Studies 29 (1967), 47-66.

  18. 18. Oswald Erich, “Christus-Adam,” in Reallexikon zur deutschen Kunstgeschichte, vol. 1 (1937), col. 157-68; and Ernst Guldan, Eva und Maria (Graz and Cologne: Bˆhlau, 1966).

  19. 19. An anonymous reader pointed out that Bosch’s favorite saint, Anthony, voiced just such a lament to Christ about how He had been absent during the greatest torments by demons, according to the hagiography by Saint Athanasius. This exclamation is quoted in Latin on a cartellino by Grünewald in the Temptation of Saint Anthony wing of the Isenheim Altarpiece. See Charles Cuttler, “Some Grünewald Sources,” Art Quarterly 19 (1956), 115; also Andrée Hayum, “The Meaning and Function of the Isenheim Altarpiece: The Hospital Context Revisited,” Art Bulletin 59 (1977), 507.

  20. 20. Reindert Falkenburg, “Hans Memling’s Van Nieuwenhove Diptych: The Place of Prayer in Early Netherlandish Painting,” in Essays in Context: Unfolding the Netherlandish Diptych, ed. John Oliver Hand and Ron Spronk (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 92-109.

  21. 21. Readers of this Journal will surely know the classic article identifying the figure in the doorway as the Antichrist: Lotte Brand Philip, “The Prado Epiphany by Jerome Bosch,” Art Bulletin 35 (1953), 267-93, a study that still has relevance more than half a century later.

  22. 22. Margaret Sullivan, “Proverbs and Process in Bruegel’s ‘Rabbit Hunt,'” Burlington Magazine 145 (2003), 30-35, citing Erasmus’s adage, “A hare yourself, you hunt for prey.”9

  23. 23. Joseph Leo Koerner, The Moment of Self-Portraiture in German Art (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993).

  24. 24. An anonymous reader offered the following alternative scenario, closer to conventional Bosch scholarship: “Rather than as Satan, the humble Bosch [?] might settle for his likeness as the morally hollow tree-man in the Garden of Earthly Delights. He is just another bit actor condemned by original sin and his own willfulness to Hell.” Concerning the tree-man motif: Bosch made a careful drawing of the same figure as an independent drawing (Vienna, Albertina), which several earlier commentators have associated with either a literal or spiritual self-portrait; see, for example, Charles de Tolnay, Hieronymus Bosch (New York: Reynal, 1966), 32; also Otto Benesch, “Hieronymus Bosch and the Thinking of the Late Middle Ages,” Konsthistorisk Tidskrift 26 (1957), 21-42, 103-27, esp. 126-27: “The artist turns himself into demons in order to chase them away.” See also Walter Gibson, “Invented in Hell: Bosch’s Tree-Man,” in Invention. Northern Renaissance Studies in Honor of Molly Faries, ed. Julien Chapuis (Turnhout: Brepols, 2008), 163-73.

Bax, Dirk. Hieronymus Bosch and Lucas Cranach: The Last Judgment Triptychs. Amsterdam and New York: North-Holland, 1983.

Benesch, Otto. “Hieronymus Bosch and the Thinking of the Late Middle Ages.” Konsthistorisk Tidskrift 26 (1957): 21-42, 103-27. doi:10.1080/00233605708603580

Beutler, Christian. Meister Bertram Der Hochaltar von Sankt Petri. Frankfurt: Fischer, 1984.

Cuttler, Charles. “Some Grünewald Sources.” Art Quarterly 19 (1956): 115.

Dube, Elizabeth Healy. “The Grabow Altar of Master Bertram von Minden.” PhD diss. Brown University, 1982.

Erich, Oswald. “Christus-Adam.” In Reallexikon zur deutschen Kunstgeschichte, vol. 1, col. 157-68. Stuttgart, 1937.

Falkenburg, Reindert. “Hans Memling’s Van Nieuwenhove Diptych: The Place of Prayer in Early Netherlandish Painting.” In Essays in Context: Unfolding the Netherlandish Diptych, 92-109. Edited by John Oliver Hand and Ron Spronk. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Gibson, Walter. “Invented in Hell: Bosch’s Tree-Man.” In Invention: Northern Renaissance Studies in Honor of Molly Faries, 163-73. Edited by Julien Chapuis. Turnhout: Brepols, 2008.

Guldan, Ernst. Eva und Maria. Graz and Cologne: Böhlau, 1966.

Harbison, Craig. The Last Judgment in Sixteenth Century Northern Painting. New York: Garland, 1976.

Hayum, André. “The Meaning and Function of the Isenheim Altarpiece: The Hospital Context Revisited.” ArtBulletin 59 (1977): 507. doi:10.2307/3049705

Janssen, Paul Huys. Review of Larry Silver, Hieronymus Bosch. Burlington Magazine 149 (2007): 110-11.

Kauffmann, Georg. “Meister Bertrams Engelsturz.” In Studies in Late Medieval and Renaissance Painting in Honor of Millard Meiss, 249-60. Edited by Irving Lavin and John Plummer. New York: New York University Press, 1977.

Koerner, Joseph Leo. The Moment of Self-Portraiture in German Art. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993.

Link, Luther. The Devil. New York: Abrams, 1996.

Lutz, J., and Paul Perdrizet. Speculum humanae salvationis: Text critique. Leipzig: C. Beck, 1907.

Oostrom, Frits van. Court and Culture: Dutch Literature, 1350-1450. Translated by Arnold Pomerans. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992 (1st ed., 1987).

Philip, Lotte Brand. “The Prado Epiphany by Jerome Bosch.” Art Bulletin 35 (1953): 267-93. doi:10.2307/3047507

Pinson, Yona. “Fall of the Angels and Creation of Eve in Bosch’s Eden: Meaning and Iconographical Sources.” In Flanders in a European Perspective: Manuscript Illumination around 1400 in Flanders and Abroad, 693-707. Edited by Maurits Smeyers and Bert Cardon. Louvain: Peeters, 1995.

Russell, Jeffrey Burton. Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1984.

Said, Edward. Beginnings: Intention and Method. New York: Basic Books, 1975.

Silver, Larry. Hieronymus Bosch. New York: Abbeville, 2006.

Sullivan, Margaret. “Proverbs and Process in Bruegel’s ‘Rabbit Hunt.'” Burlington Magazine 145 (2003): 30-35.

Tolnay, Charles de. Hieronymus Bosch. New York: Reynal, 1966.

Vervoort, Renilde. “The Pestilent Toad: The Significance of the Toad in the Works of Bosch.” In Hieronymus Bosch: New Insights into His Life and Work, 145-51. Edited by Jos Koldeweij and Bernard Vermet. Rotterdam: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, 2001.

Wenzel, Siegfried. “The Three Enemies of Man.” Medieval Studies 29 (1967): 47-66.

Wilson, Adrian, and Joyce Lancaster Wilson. A Medieval Mirror: Speculum Humanae Salvationis, 1324-1500. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.

Wirth, Karl-August. “Engelsturz.” In Reallexikon zur deutschen Kunstgeschichte, vol. 5, col. 621-74. Stuttgart, 1967.

List of Illustrations

Jheronimus Bosch,  Saint Jerome in Prayer,  Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent
Fig. 1 Jheronimus Bosch, Saint Jerome in Prayer, oil on panel, 80.1 x 60.6 cm. Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent, inv. no. 1908-H (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Jheronimus Bosch,  Creation of the World, exterior, Garden of Eart,  Museo del Prado, Madrid
Fig. 2 Jheronimus Bosch, Creation of the World, exterior, Garden of Earthly Delights triptych, oil on panel, 220 x 389 cm. Museo del Prado, Madrid, inv. no. P02823 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Limbourg Brothers,  Fall of the Rebel Angels (fol. 64v) from Très,  Musée Condé, Chantilly
Fig. 3 Limbourg Brothers, Fall of the Rebel Angels (fol. 64v) from Très Riches Heures, illumination on vellum, 290 x 210 mm. Musée Condé, Chantilly, inv. no. MS. 65, fol. 64v (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
 Separation of Light from Darkness and Fall of ,  Bodleian Library, Oxford
Fig. 4 Separation of Light from Darkness and Fall of the Rebel Angels from Bible moralisée, illuminated manuscript, 419 x 292 mm. Bodleian Library, Oxford, inv. no. Ms 270b, fol. 2v (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
 Fall of the Rebel Angels and Creation of Eve ,  Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris
Fig. 5 Fall of the Rebel Angels and Creation of Eve from Speculum humanae salvationis, illumination on vellum, 41 x 28.5 cm. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, inv. no. Ms. fr. 6275, fol. 2v (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Master Bertram,  Fall of the Rebel Angels, detail from the Grabow,  ca. 1389,  Kunsthalle, Hamburg
Fig. 6 Master Bertram, Fall of the Rebel Angels, detail from the Grabow Altarpiece, ca. 1389, paint on wood, 277 x 726 cm. Kunsthalle, Hamburg, inv. no. 500 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Albrecht Dürer,  Fall of the Rebel Angels, detail from Apocalyps,  ca. 1498,
Fig. 7 Albrecht Dürer, Fall of the Rebel Angels, detail from Apocalypse, ca. 1498, woodcut, 39.4 x 28.3 cm (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Gerard David,  Saint Michael altarpiece,  ca. 1505-10,  Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
Fig. 8 Gerard David, Saint Michael altarpiece, ca. 1505-10, oil on wood, 66 x 53 cm. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, inv. no. GG 4056 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Pieter Bruegel the Elder,  Fall of the Rebel Angels,  ca. 1562,  Musées royaux des beaux-arts de Belgique, Brussels
Fig. 9 Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Fall of the Rebel Angels, ca. 1562, oil on oak, 117 x 162 cm. Musées royaux des beaux-arts de Belgique, Brussels, inv. no. GG 4056 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Jheronimus Bosch,  Apocalypse by Fire,  Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
Fig. 10 Jheronimus Bosch, Apocalypse by Fire, oil on panel, 69 x 35 cm. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, inv. no. St. 27 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Jheronimus Bosch,  Noah's Ark after the Flood,  Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
Fig. 11 Jheronimus Bosch, Noah’s Ark after the Flood, oil on panel, 69 x 38 cm. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, inv. no. St. 28 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Jheronimus Bosch,  Fall of the Rebel Angels, detail from Garden of,  Museo del Prado, Madrid
Fig. 12 Jheronimus Bosch, Fall of the Rebel Angels, detail from Garden of Eden, left shutter, Haywain triptych, oil on panel, 147 x 45 cm. Museo del Prado, Madrid, inv. no. P02052 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Jheronimus Bosch,  Presentation of Eve to Adam, detail from Garden,  Museo del Prado, Madrid
Fig. 13 Jheronimus Bosch, Presentation of Eve to Adam, detail from Garden of Eden, left shutter, Garden of Earthly Delights triptych, oil on panel, 220 x 97 cm. Museo del Prado, Madrid, inv. no. P02823 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Jheronimus Bosch,  Fall of the Rebel Angels, detail from Garden of,  Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna
Fig. 14 Jheronimus Bosch, Fall of the Rebel Angels, detail from Garden of Eden, left shutter, Last Judgment altarpiece, oil on panel, 164 x 60 cm. Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna, inv. nos. 579-581 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Jheronimus Bosch,  Fall of the Rebel Angels, detail from center pan,  Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna
Fig. 15 Jheronimus Bosch, Fall of the Rebel Angels, detail from center panel, Last Judgment altarpiece, oil on panel, 164 x 127 cm. Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna, inv. nos. 579-581 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Jheronimus Bosch,  Ecce Homo,  Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt
Fig. 16 Jheronimus Bosch, Ecce Homo, tempera and oil on oak panel, 71 x 61 cm. Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt, inv. no. 1577 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Jheronimus Bosch, Haywain triptych, detail from center panel,  Museo del Prado, Madrid
Fig. 17 Jheronimus Bosch, detail from center panel, Haywain triptych, oil on panel, 147 x 190 cm. Museo del Prado, Madrid, inv. no. P02052 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Jheronimus Bosch,  Death of the Miser,  National Gallery of Art,  National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Fig. 18 Jheronimus Bosch, Death of the Miser, oil on panel, 93 x 31 cm. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., inv. no. 1952.5.33 (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]
Pieter Bruegel the Elder,  Luxuria,  ca. 1557,  Bibliothèque royale de Belgique, cabinet des estampes, Brussels
Fig. 19 Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Luxuria, ca. 1557, ink drawing, 22.6 x 29.7 cm. Bibliothèque royale de Belgique, cabinet des estampes, Brussels, inv. no. S. II 132 816 fol C (artwork in the public domain) [comparison viewer]

Footnotes

  1. 1. Larry Silver, Hieronymus Bosch (New York: Abbeville, 2006), with select bibliography.

  2. 2. I single out the perspicacious remarks by Paul Huys Janssen, Burlington Magazine 149 (Feb. 2007): 110-11.

  3. 3. The Antwerp bell shape appears in Bosch’s Martyrdom of a Female Saint (Venice) and his Epiphany (Madrid) as well as the Bosch workshop Last Judgment triptych (Bruges, Groeninge Museum).

  4. 4. Craig Harbison, The Last Judgment in Sixteenth Century Northern Painting  (New York: Garland, 1976).

  5. 5. Silver, Hieronymus Bosch. For general thoughts on origins and originality, I have benefited greatly from the theorizing of Edward Said, Beginnings: Intention and Method (New York: Basic Books, 1975).

  6. 6. For much of this thinking, I am indebted to the important work on Bosch by Yona Pinson as well as stimulating conversations with a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, Kevin Kriebel. Yona Pinson, “Fall of the Angels and Creation of Eve in Bosch’s Eden: Meaning and Iconographical Sources,” in Flanders in a European Perspective: Manuscript Illumination around 1400 in Flanders and Abroad, ed. Maurits Smeyers and Bert Cardon (Louvain: Peeters, 1995), 693-707.

  7. 7. See also City of God, Book 13, Chapter 24: “So, too, the rebellious angels, though by sinning they did in a sense die, because they forsook God, the Fountain of life, which while they drank they were able to live wisely and well, yet they could not so die as to utterly cease living and feeling, for they are immortals by creation. And so, after the final judgment, they shall be hurled into the second death, and not even there be deprived of life or of sensation, but shall suffer torment.”

  8. 8. See Luther Link, The Devil (New York: Abrams, 1996), esp. 22-30; and Karl-August Wirth, “Engelsturz,” in Reallexikon zur deutschen Kunstgeschichte, vol. 5 [1960], col. 621-74. More generally, Jeffrey Burton Russell, Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1984).

  9. 9. J. Lutz and Paul Perdrizet, Speculum humanae salvationis: Text critique (Leipzig: C. Beck, 1907); Adrian and Joyce Lancaster Wilson, A Medieval Mirror: Speculum Humanae Salvationis, 1324-1500 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984).

  10. 10. See the general paired layouts of the Speculum, described for both manuscripts and incunabula by Wilson and Wilson, Medieval Mirror, 60. A good American example from the mid-fifteenth century is at the Newberry Library in Chicago (ms. 40).

  11. 11. “Lucifer ergo erexit se contra Creatorem suum, Deum aeternum, / Et in icto oculi de excelso coelorum projectus est in infernum, / Et ob hanc causam decrevit Deus genus humanum creare, /Ut per ipsum posset casum Luciferi et sociorum ejus restaurare.” The translation is by Elizabeth Healy Dube.

  12. 12. Dirk Bax, Hieronymus Bosch and Lucas Cranach: The Last Judgment Triptychs (Amsterdam and New York: North-Holland, 1983), 22. On the author and his context, see Frits van Oostrom, Court and Culture: Dutch Literature, 1350-1450, trans. Arnold Pomerans (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992; 1st ed., 1987), 172-218.

  13. 13. Christian Beutler, Meister Bertram Der Hochaltar von Sankt Petri (Frankfurt: Fischer, 1984), esp. 26-29. See also Elizabeth Healy Dube, The Grabow Altar of Master Bertram von Minden, unpublished PhD diss. (Brown University, 1982), esp. 59-81; Georg Kauffmann, “Meister Bertrams Engelsturz,” in Studies in Late Medieval and Renaissance Painting in Honor of Millard Meiss, ed. Irving Lavin and John Plummer (New York: New York University Press, 1977), 249-60.

  14. 14. enilde Vervoort, “The Pestilent Toad: The Significance of the Toad in the Works of Bosch,” in Hieronymus Bosch: New Insights into His Life and Work, ed. Jos Koldeweij and Bernard Vermet (Rotterdam: Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, 2001), 145-51.

  15. 15. Vervoort, “Pestilent Toad,” 146n17, notes that a similar toad appears in the Fall of the Rebel Angels in the Mayer van den Bergh Breviary, attributed to Simon Bening (fol. 552v; ca. 1510).

  16. 16. Dirk Bax, Bosch and Cranach, 21-72.

  17. 17. Siegfried Wenzel, “The Three Enemies of Man,” Medieval Studies 29 (1967), 47-66.

  18. 18. Oswald Erich, “Christus-Adam,” in Reallexikon zur deutschen Kunstgeschichte, vol. 1 (1937), col. 157-68; and Ernst Guldan, Eva und Maria (Graz and Cologne: Bˆhlau, 1966).

  19. 19. An anonymous reader pointed out that Bosch’s favorite saint, Anthony, voiced just such a lament to Christ about how He had been absent during the greatest torments by demons, according to the hagiography by Saint Athanasius. This exclamation is quoted in Latin on a cartellino by Grünewald in the Temptation of Saint Anthony wing of the Isenheim Altarpiece. See Charles Cuttler, “Some Grünewald Sources,” Art Quarterly 19 (1956), 115; also Andrée Hayum, “The Meaning and Function of the Isenheim Altarpiece: The Hospital Context Revisited,” Art Bulletin 59 (1977), 507.

  20. 20. Reindert Falkenburg, “Hans Memling’s Van Nieuwenhove Diptych: The Place of Prayer in Early Netherlandish Painting,” in Essays in Context: Unfolding the Netherlandish Diptych, ed. John Oliver Hand and Ron Spronk (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 92-109.

  21. 21. Readers of this Journal will surely know the classic article identifying the figure in the doorway as the Antichrist: Lotte Brand Philip, “The Prado Epiphany by Jerome Bosch,” Art Bulletin 35 (1953), 267-93, a study that still has relevance more than half a century later.

  22. 22. Margaret Sullivan, “Proverbs and Process in Bruegel’s ‘Rabbit Hunt,'” Burlington Magazine 145 (2003), 30-35, citing Erasmus’s adage, “A hare yourself, you hunt for prey.”9

  23. 23. Joseph Leo Koerner, The Moment of Self-Portraiture in German Art (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993).

  24. 24. An anonymous reader offered the following alternative scenario, closer to conventional Bosch scholarship: “Rather than as Satan, the humble Bosch [?] might settle for his likeness as the morally hollow tree-man in the Garden of Earthly Delights. He is just another bit actor condemned by original sin and his own willfulness to Hell.” Concerning the tree-man motif: Bosch made a careful drawing of the same figure as an independent drawing (Vienna, Albertina), which several earlier commentators have associated with either a literal or spiritual self-portrait; see, for example, Charles de Tolnay, Hieronymus Bosch (New York: Reynal, 1966), 32; also Otto Benesch, “Hieronymus Bosch and the Thinking of the Late Middle Ages,” Konsthistorisk Tidskrift 26 (1957), 21-42, 103-27, esp. 126-27: “The artist turns himself into demons in order to chase them away.” See also Walter Gibson, “Invented in Hell: Bosch’s Tree-Man,” in Invention. Northern Renaissance Studies in Honor of Molly Faries, ed. Julien Chapuis (Turnhout: Brepols, 2008), 163-73.

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DOI: 10.5092/jhna.2009.1.1.5
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