Bosch painting returns home

October 18, 2018

Following the phenomenal success of the Bosch exhibition in 2016, a commitment was made to continue researching Bosch, and to regularly bring the art of Hieronymus Bosch back to his home town, Den Bosch. There is still so much to be discovered about the artist and his workshop. This exhibition - From Bosch's Stable - is the first in a series of exhibitions that will demonstrate the master's influence on both his pupils and followers through autograph pieces." - Charles de Mooij, Director, Het Noordbrabants Museum

The Adoration of the Magi

The painting due to arrive in Den Bosch in December is The Adoration of the Magi on loan from The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It depicts the three magi paying homage to the Christ Child, held in the lap of the Virgin Mary. Although this early piece by Hieronymus Bosch is relatively classical in its composition, it does contain several typically Boschian elements, such as the face of Christ, the small figures in the background and an owl - a bird that repeatedly features in paintings by the artist.

The theme of the exhibition is Epiphany - or Three Kings' Day - a religious festival that was extremely popular in visual arts in the latter Middle Ages. The period produced a great number of depictions of the festival; full of exotic figures in lavish costumes and with luxuriant attributes. Hieronymus Bosch also portrayed the theme numerous times. Two of those autograph paintings have been preserved: one held in the collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the other at the Museo del Prado (Madrid). Both paintings were copied and imitated early on, proving their desirability. The exhibition From Bosch's Stable. Hieronymus Bosch and The Adoration of the Magi has a strong focus on this imitation of Bosch.

The early appreciation for his work in Bosch's own era is remarkable: with more than 30 surviving early copies, Bosch's interpretation is one of the most popular compositions from the late medieval Holland. The Bosch Research and Conservation Project has been researching the work and atelier of Bosch since 2010 and has examined a number of these copies closely. The findings have led to some surprising new insights.  In addition to the autograph piece from New York, the exhibition will show artworks by Bosch followers from The National Trust collections in England (Petworth House and Upton House). Paintings and prints by contemporaries such as Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen, Martin Schongauer and Lucas van Leyden will also be on display, immersing visitors in the Epiphany narrative.