Artibus et Historiae no. 62 (XXXI)

2010, ISSN 0391-9064

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FRITZ KORENY - Hieronymus Bosch und die niederländische Zeichnung. Zur Problematik von Attribution, Datierung und Lokalisierung

Hieronymus van Aken (Aachen) named himself “Bosch” after his home-city s’-Hertogenbosch. For his depictions of hell with human beings tormented by demons and monstrous beasts he was famous already in his lifetime. Until today the fascination and interpretation of his pictorial world overshadows the elucidation of his artistic idiom and capacity. This probably may cause the many contradictory attributions and opinions concerning authenticity and chronology of his work.

The Dresden double-sided drawing of St. John with the Virgin on the recto and St Magdalen on the verso, ranks among the most puzzling works on paper, discussed and attributed to Hieronymus Bosch. On the basis of stylistic analysis and the development of the figurative composition the present paper tries to establish the drawing’s art-historical position: its drawing-style, in pen and ink, corresponds with a series of apostles, copies after Jan van Eyck from the 1440s, and is also reflected in the mid-fifteenth-century Utrecht miniature grisaille technique, while the specific arrangement of St. John and the Virgin is closely linked to the French manuscript painting, like the Rohan Hours from the mid-1430s. This, together with the watermark which points to the paper of Louvain origin from about 1425/30, speaks for an execution of the drawing in the southern Netherlands around 1430–1440; it has nothing in common with Hieronymus Bosch.

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