In 2016, the Noordbrabants Museum in the Dutch city of Den Bosch held a special exhibition devoted to the work of Hieronymus Bosch, who died 500 years ago. This late-medieval artist lived ...
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In 2016, the Noordbrabants Museum in the Dutch city of Den Bosch held a special exhibition devoted to the work of Hieronymus Bosch, who died 500 years ago. This late-medieval artist lived his entire life in the city, causing uproar with his fantastical and utterly unique paintings in which hell and the devil always played a prominent role. In preparation for the exhibition, a team of Dutch art historians crisscrosses the globe to unravel the secrets of his art. They use special infrared cameras to examine the sketches beneath the paint, in the hope of discovering more about the artist's intentions. They also attempt to establish which of the paintings can be attributed with certainty to Bosch himself, and which to his pupils or followers. The experts shuttle between Den Bosch, Madrid and Venice, cutting their way through the art world's tangle of red tape, in a battle against the obstacle of countless egos and conflicting interests. Not every museum is prepared to allow access to ...
Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516) was born Jheronimus (or Jeroen or Joen) Anthonissen van Aken. The first names are Latin and various Middle Dutch forms of "Jerome," and the last two mean "from Aachen," now part of Germany. He signed his paintings Jheronimus Bosch to indicate his birthplace, and the town where he lived all his life, 's-Hertogenbosh, commonly known as Den Bosch, or "the forest." See more »
Pieter van Huijstee has written, directed and produced a modern masterpiece, a contemporary Boschian Hay Wain, where man queues, grasps and kills to clutch and hold the gold-like hay not knowing that it will wither as soon as he is in possession of it. God sees, all; we do not. In Pieter's film, people in the Art World do NOT come out well. Hieronymus Bosch very much DOES. Hugely so.
A fly on the wall approach collapses 6 years travel across the world into an hour and a half if one supplements it with the DVD additional scene of the visit to the Louvre. I found it absorbing and illuminating. The highlights are very much the scenes filmed in front of the (many specially unframed) Bosch panel paintings with the camera carefully panning over the details being discussed.
Many, who like me have travelled the world to see Bosch's work, will love the travelogue quality of the filmed exteriors of the museums and galleries. One is there again at the foot of the steps, if only for a few minutes, and now one is being allowed to go behind the closed doors, rooms and store rooms. Wonderful.
My twin brother and I visited the Noordbrabants Museum to see the Bosch exhibition this February (2016) as we did the Bosch Congress and Rotterdam exhibition in November 2001. At the Congress, as in Pieter's film, petty animosities and rivalries were sadly manifest, the archivists and the restorers being the good guys, the academics the bad guys. In the intervening 15 years the bad guys would seem to be the Museum Directors. It would appear to be a never ending conflict. Religion in Bosch's time. Professions and disciplines today.
A primary theme of the research exercise was to establish what constitutes an Hieronymus Bosch artwork and there is a gem of a scene where there are a worrying few moments as the Director of the hosting Museum says that he wants his visitors to know that they are seeing only a genuine Bosch, NOT with assistants, studio or follower. It is a VERY good scene, whether the subject of editing or staging. It lasts only a few minutes. Keep your eyes and ears open. Priceless. Bosch's sermons in paint are alive and well in 21st Century 's-Hertogenbosch !
A secondary and undeclared issue occurs when the principal organiser, Matthijs Ilsink, is asked by a Berlin Museum Curator as they examine a box of Bosch's drawings whether he thinks Bosch 'a Humanist' - a scholar, a speaker of Latin, a learned Humanist I will not spoil the viewer's experience by giving his answer, nor how the conversation continues, but highly recommend you see the film to find out. It is very much well worth it.
A must see.
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