“Betrachtungen zum Werke des Hieronymus Bosch” (Ludwig Baldass) 1926
[in: Jahrbuch der kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien, Neue Folge – Band I (1926), pp. 103-122]
[Also mentioned in Gibson 1983: 41 (D1)]
Of the few works that have ‘recently’ been attributed to Bosch, only three can be considered to be authentic. The Rotterdam Wedding at Cana shows the satirical but also the diabolical side of Bosch. The painting’s message is a riddle for Baldass. It belongs to Bosch’s early period but it is not the work of a beginner (and thus: a late work from the early period). The Brussels Crucifixion shows less affinity with fifteenth-century art from the southern Netherlands than Friedländer asserted. This panel also belongs to Bosch’s later early period. The Vienna Carrying of the Cross is a late work from the early period as well, but is more mature than the Wedding at Cana. Baldass dates the panel around 1480. It is said to contain a self-portrait of Bosch as an approximately thirty-year-old man (the person who is gazing at the spectator, bottom left corner). The backside of the panel with a naked child and a walking frame causes problems again. Is the world viewed as a playing child or is the child the youthful Christ? The other wing, which has been lost, could perhaps solve the riddle.
Bosch has a great imagination, not only in his depictions of Hell and Paradise, but also in triptychs such as The Haywain and The Garden of Delights, who seem to have been made up out of the blue. Bosch is also very original in his genre paintings. The didactic and satirical nature of these latter paintings is related to the early German copper engravings (Meister E.S.). Bosch is standing on the borderline between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance: on the one hand there is his unreal imagery, focusing not on the outward looks but on the meaning of things, on the other hand there is the ethical treatment of religious themes and the great imagination. The origins of his style are still vague. There are parallels between Bosch and Geertgen tot Sint-Jans (but less so between Bosch and the Master of the Virgo inter Virgines). Baldass also briefly mentions a ‘Master of ’s-Hertogenbosch’: the Alaert du Hameel engravings would not be based on Bosch, but on works ‘such as those by this anonymous master’. The Last Judgement panels (Saint Petersburg), belonging to the Van Eyck circle, are said to have had direct influence on Bosch.
The sixteenth-century followers of Bosch can be divided into two groups: the Antwerp artistic circles around 1520 and the Southern Netherlandish art around 1550. Jan Wellens de Cock (Jan van Leyen) and especially Joachim Patinir belong to the first group. The second group includes Hieronymus Cock (Jan de Cock’s son), Jan Mandyn, Peter Huys and especially the younger Peter Bruegel the Elder.
Since Peter Klein’s dendrochronological research (2001) we know that the Rotterdam Wedding at Cana can not be an authentic Bosch.