Hieronymus Bosch: Visions and Nightmares (Renaissance Lives) (UK Edition)

October 31, 2020
Hieronymus Bosch: Visions and Nightmares (Renaissance Lives) (UK Edition)

In his lifetime the early Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Boschwas famous for his phantasmagoric images, and today his name issynonymous with the infernal. The creator of expansive tableaus offantastic and hellish scenes—where any devil not dancing is toobusy eating human souls—he has been as equally misunderstood byhistory as his paintings have. In this book, Nils Büttner draws ona wealth of historical documents—not to mention Bosch'spaintings—to offer a fresh and insightful look at one of history'smost peculiar artists on the five-hundredth anniversary of hisdeath.Bosch's paintings have elicited a number a responses over thecenturies. Some have tried to explain them as alchemical symbolism,others as coded messages of a secret cult, and still others havetried to psychoanalyze them. Some have placed Bosch among theAdamites, others among the Cathars, and others among the Brethrenof the Free Spirit, seeing in his paintings an occult life of freelove, strange rituals, mysterious drugs, and witchcraft. As Büttnershows, Bosch was—if anything—a hardworking painter, commissioned byaristocrats and courtesans, as all painters of his time were.Analyzing his life and paintings against the backdrop ofcontemporary Dutch culture and society, Büttner offers one of theclearest biographical sketches to date alongside beautifulreproductions of some of Bosch's most important work. The result isa smart but accessible introduction to a unique artist whose worktranscends genre.