Obelisk Art History
The Artists

Hieronymus Bosch
Welcome to Hell

Hieronymus Bosch, The Artists
Portrait of Hieronymus Bosch

In 1463, the Dutch city of ’s-Hertogenbosch burned to the ground in a catastrophic fire that destroyed more than 4000 homes. I think 13 year old Hieronymus Bosch witnessed the blaze, and interpreted the nightmare of destruction as holy judgement on mankind’s corruption.

I have to clarify that this is speculation, because Hieronymus Bosch wrote no letters and left no journal. Scholars disagree on when he was born, and there’s only a single sketch of a pensive old man that might be a self portrait. We only know he became ferociously religious, his macabre depictions of a horrifying afterlife earning him a respected position in the Catholic confraternity The Illustrious Brotherhood of Our Blessed Lady. From this position of clerical authority he brought the religious narratives of his day to life in vivid detail.

Bosch’s warped imagination was met with incredible acclaim. He was commissioned to create altarpieces in the Netherlands and abroad. His work was so influential that many painters of the day imitated his beautiful detail and grotesque themes, creating a body of work whose attribution is debated to this day.

Reed Enger, "Hieronymus Bosch, Welcome to Hell," in Obelisk Art History, Published June 05, 2015; last modified September 25, 2022, http://arthistoryproject.com/artists/hieronymus-bosch/.

Hieronymus Bosch was a Dutch artist born in 1450. Bosch contributed to the Northern Renaissance movement and died on August 9, 1516.

The Adoration of the Magi, Hieronymus Bosch

The Adoration of the Magi 1475

The Last Judgement, Hieronymus Bosch

The Last Judgement 1482

The Garden of Earthly Delights, Hieronymus Bosch

The Garden of Earthly Delights 1503 – 1504

The Garden of Earthly Delights - Closed, Hieronymus Bosch

The Garden of Earthly Delights - Closed 1503 – 1504

Temptation of Saint Anthony, Hieronymus Bosch

Temptation of Saint Anthony 1510

Table of the Seven Deadly Sins, Hieronymus Bosch

Table of the Seven Deadly Sins 1505 – 1510

The Adoration of the Magi, Hieronymus Bosch

The Adoration of the Magi 1515

The Haywain Triptych, Hieronymus Bosch

The Haywain Triptych 1516

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Hieronymus Bosch, Painter and Draughtsman, Recommended Reading

The official catalogue raisonné by the Bosch Research and Conservation Project. This is it, y'all: the definitive book on Bosch

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