Thursday, December 22, 2016

Painting Damnation: Celebrating 500 Years of Bosch

by Nina Siegal

New York Times

December 22, 2016

In case you missed it, we’re coming to the end of “Bosch Year 2016,” the quincentenary celebration of the death of the late-medieval Dutch master known for his surrealistic images of the hereafter, and particularly for the fantastical hybrid demons that populate his hell.

Global commemorative events throughout the year have included major retrospectives in the artist’s hometown, ’s-Hertogenbosch, in the Netherlands, and at the Prado in Madrid.

In the run-up to the year, scholars raced to complete new examinations of Bosch’s artworks all over the world and to advance new theories about his life and art, and the result is a profusion of hefty Bosch tomes, which range from authoritative technical analyses to a novelist’s art travelogue.

The landmark achievement of these efforts is a comprehensive catalog raisonné, produced by the Bosch Research and Conservation Project in ’s-Hertogenbosch, through an exhaustive examination by a group of art historians and scientists who traveled the world to examine and document every single work attributed to the artist. The 600-page illustrated catalog is accompanied by a 460-page volume of technical studies of the paintings (but not the drawings), made using infrared photography, infrared reflectography and X-radiography.


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