Saturday, May 7, 2016

Happy 500th, Hieronymous!

If you're into art history, or specifically northern European or Flemish art history, you know that 2016 is the 500th anniversary of the death of Hieronymous Bosch, one of the most innovative and imitated artists of the Renaissance. We have seen, admired, loved, and studied his few surviving works, all across Europe (and especially the Prado) and the US. When we heard, a year ago, that the Museum of Noordbrabants--in Bosch's home town of s-Hertogenbosch--was curating Bosch works from all over the world for a 500th anniversary exhibition, we knew we had to get tickets and to time our European tour of 2016 in order to see this singular artistic/historic event. And we did.
Just in case you forgot, this is one of the most popular Bosch
triptychs, his Garden of Earthly Delights, from the Prado

The Haywain, also from the Prado; Phillip II really liked Bosch's
stuff and bought several items for the Escorial; Phil owned the
Low Countries at the time

Anyhow, we drove to s-Hertogenbosch on Monday and camped at the nice Leygraaf inn/restaurant/camperstop. Next morning, we drove to the city park & ride, its "transferium," and took the bus into the old city, where the Noordbrabants museum is located. The city is quite attractive, but we were focused on the museum, and more rain was falling.

Alas, I have no photos from the exhibit. There was a no fotos policy, and the crowds were unlike anything we have seen since the Durer exhibit at the German National Museum in Nuremburg several years ago. Entries were timed and limited (the exhibition had been sold out for months), and thus it was possible to linger a bit and enjoy a piece to oneself. In addition to many, if not most of Bosch's paintings, there also were a number of sketches and drawings; Bosch is among the few early northern Renaissance-types from whom sketches survive. A particularly interesting CG-animation showed how some of the sketches, sometimes hardly more than doodles, became scenes in the paintings. Anyhow, it was very satisfying to see all the works together at such an historic occasion.

The Leygraaf, where we camped

The Noordbrabants Museum, original building

The museum complex wraps around a beautiful courtyard

Lenders and supporters of the exhibition (none of Bosch's
surviving works reside in s-Hertogenbosch, so this was really
a world-wide collaborative exhibition)

The town proud of its favorite son


Pretty (wet) street of restaurants

s-Hertogenbosch cathedral, late Gothic

Painted ceiling, glazed triforium


Creepy eye in the sky

Expecting a major candle sale

Well after all, look who's in town

Just a replica, however

Main street, s-Hertogenbosch


Rebecca said...

Was the gift shop suitably amazing?? I'm glad you got to enjoy this exhibit!

Mark said...

Actually the gift shop was not so good. Since virtually all the Bosch works came from elsewhere, and those lending museums (we assume) were not going to part with their trademarks, copyrights, whatever, there actually was little Bosch merchandise. Or maybe it was already sold out--the exhibition ends tomorrow, May 8. We found rather more Bosch books, magnets, etc., at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels.