Jeroen Bosch’ Drieluik met de Gekruisigde Martelares (Dirk Bax) 1961
[Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie voor Wetenschappen – afd. Letterkunde, Nieuwe Reeks, deel LXVIII – nr. 5, Noord-Hollandsche Uitgevers Maatschappij, Amsterdam, 1961, 68 pages + 29 ill.]
[Also mentioned in Gibson 1983: 112 (E228)]
Bax focuses on the so-called St. Julia triptych (Venice, Doge’s Palace). Most authors identify the crucified female martyr in the central panel as St. Julia. A few authors identify her as St. Wilgefortis who is also called St. Ontcommer. Bax analyses the two hypotheses and concludes that the St. Julia interpretation is the most acceptable one.
The representation of St. Anthony in the left interior panel can be linked to a passage in the Vaderboek, but Bosch’s devils carry meanings they don’t have in this text. The right interior panel causes more trouble to Bax. He is unable to identify the friendly hermit who shows the way to a soldier. The backgrounds of the wings (a burning city and a harbour with shipwrecks) can be interpreted in different ways, depending on whether the crucified protagonist is identified as St. Julia or as St. Wilgefortis. The triptych, which is in a very bad condition and whose wings have been overpainted at the bottom (allegedly by Bosch himself) are believed to date from around 1500.
In two elaborations Bax analyses the possible influences on Bosch from works of art from Asia, from Greek-Roman antiquity and from Italy (these latter from the period ca. 1375 – ca. 1515). Direct influences cannot be pointed out. Bosch may have learned about depictions that remind us of Asia or of Greek-Roman antiquity by means of medieval or renaissance works of art, and Italian influences may have reached him through Dutch works of art that were influenced by Italian art themselves.