Wednesday, December 28, 2016

"Bosch Year 2016"

I am afraid I was among those who missed 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," so, to make amends, I am posting some images from Old Gray Lady's review of several books the quincentenary has produced — Painting Damnation: Celebrating 500 Years of Bosch. An account of one of them:
    Dutch novelist Cees Nooteboom, invited to appear in a documentary to be broadcast in Bosch Year, uses the occasion to take a personal tour of Bosch paintings in various European museums. He is granted exceptional access to “The Garden of Earthly Delights” at the Prado, and follows up with trips to the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam and the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent, among other locations of Bosch masterpieces.

    The resulting slim volume of meandering, loosely philosophical observations is really an extended essay with five postscripts printed in a large font, illustrated with details of key paintings, in which he puzzles over Bosch’s imagery, in awe of the sheer originality and complexity. “Now that I am standing close to them, the abundance of details assaults me,” he writes. “I would need a year merely to see everything, let alone to penetrate within.”

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