Hieronymus Bosch

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Hieronymus Bosch was a Dutch painter. He is primarily known for drawing the most magnificent landscapes and drafting the most amazing narratives. His work was collected by a number of places during his time, namely Netherlands, Austria, and Spain.

Yet, unfortunately not much is known about this legendary artist. No letters or journals that have been left by him. The only source of biographical information on him is the municipal records of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Certain account books like the Illustrious Brotherhood of Our Blessed Lady also carry a few tidbits on him. Still, not enough information is there to be able to capture the artists thoughts and meaning behind his creations. In fact, even his date of birth is yet to be determined. It is estimated though that he was born in 1450.The approximation is on the basis of a self-portrait sketched by Bosch a few years before his death.

Bosch was born in the town of ‘s-Hertogenbosch where he lived with his grandfather who was of German descent. He too was a painter and it was him who was responsible for casting an everlasting influence on Bosch’s work.

Back in the 15th century, ‘s-Hertogenbosch was a flourishing city. In 1463, 4000 houses got burnt by an insane fire. The incident was viewed first-hand by a thirteen year old Bosch. Soon after, he started painting.

In a very short time, Bosch managed to gain an immense amount of acclaim. He would often receive commissions from abroad. He even joined Brotherhood of Our Lady which at the time was a highly regarded arch-conservative religious group. The number of members in it was forty, all of whom belonged to the most prestigious spheres of -‘s-Hertogenbosch. There were also 7,000 ‘outer-members’ from around Europe.

Bosch created around sixteen triptychs. In these, eight were complete while the remaining five were present in pieces. The Garden of Earthly Delights is his most famous triptych. Its internal segments are meant to be read in a chronological order. On the left end, God grants Eve to Adam rather creatively. The appearance he has been allotted can be described as youthful. The milieu is rather peculiar, rife with the most rare animals and eccentric semi-organic hut-shaped forms. The segment in the middle is broad coupled with nude silhouettes who are involved in evidently innocuous activities.

Sometime between 1479 and 1481, Bosch eloped with Aleyt Goyaerts van den Meerveen. She was just a couple of years older to Bosch. Soon after their marriage, the duo moved to Oirschot. In the town his wife had inherited a significant amount of property from her wealthy family.

As per the Brotherhood of Our Lady records, Bosch’s passed away in 1516. His funeral is said to be held in the church of Saint John on 9 August of that year.

The exact number of Bosch’s paintings has not met a unanimous conclusion. His signature is found on only seven paintings. There is also reasonable debate over whether the signatures on his paintings are actually genuine. For, it is known that most of his work has been copied after his death.

In fact over the years, scholars have chosen to attribute him fewer and fewer of the works that were once attributed to him. Technological advancements are responsible for this which has made it easier for a researcher to see a painting’s under-drawings.

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