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January 18, 2019

The vision of a genius

The Garden of Earthly Delights, detail, Hieronymus Bosch, 1504
The Garden of Earthly Delights, detail, Hieronymus Bosch, 1504

To celebrate 500th anniversary of the death of Hieronymus Bosch (1450- 1516), the most important Medieval artist from the Netherlands, his town of birth, Hertogenbosch, stages an unparalleled homage.

Not only does it it host the exhibition of the century (from February 13 to May 8, the town's Noordbrabants Museum borrows almost all Bosch’s greatest works from galleries across the world), but through dance, music and circus performances, recreates the artist's world on its streets.

What has always fascinated, baffled and astonished us about Bosch is his weirdly surreal imagery — those strange transformations and inversions of scale and function: flowers become buildings, birds devouring men. Born into the family of painters, Borsch was a respected citizen.

Depicting deadly sins — gluttony and lechery were the two he painted the most — Borsch tried to deter his fellows against sin and self-indulgence.

He did not follow the typical Flemish painting fashion either. Drawing, instead of painting, with his brush, he is considered a revolutionary artist of his time.

His contemporaries understood and appreciated his 'mad' art that defied imagination. And 500 years on, so do we.


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