2016 marked the quincentenary of the birth of visonary painter Hieronymus Bosch, best known for his minutely detailed, surrealistic depictions of heaven and hell, most especially the latter. Not surprisingly, this was the occasion for the publication of numerous books about the artist and his work, some pouring over his paintings via multiple modern technologies to delve into various stages and layers of his work, right down to the original pencil sketches underlying many layers of paint. One book also dives into the layers of Bosch’s psyche and environment that informed his work and notes that he was a member of a mystical secret society!
“In…Jheronimus Bosch: The Road to Heaven and Hell, the art historian and author Gary Schwartz explores Bosch’s links to the institutions of his hometown — including a particularly fascinating look at the secret society the Illustrious Brotherhood of Our Dear Lady, in which Bosch was a sworn brother, cleric and possible exorcist — and to the larger religious, literary, institutional and artistic touchstones that charged his wildly creative imagination.”
Read the entire interview here:
Tangentially, former MINUTEMEN/fIREHOSE bass player mike watt wrote, recorded and released an album called hyphenated-man a couple years ago, partially influenced by Bosch. He explains:
“a big influence was those little creatures in those old hieronymus bosch paintings – I read a theory about them maybe being visualizations of proverbs or aphorisms and me, not knowing much about sixteenth century dutch/flemish culture, made up my own meanings! the main parallel I saw w/the minutemen was how many little trips could roll up into one big one.”
Here’s a copy of the particular painting that inspired these songs with the some of the images numbered and a list of the songs they inspired:
“hyphenated-man” by mike watt