“Bezwaren tegen L. Brand Philips interpretatie van Jeroen Bosch’ Marskramer, Goochelaar, Keisnijder en voorgrond van Hooiwagenpaneel” (Dirk Bax) 1962
[in: Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek, XIII (1962), pp. 1-54]
[Also mentioned in Gibson 1983: 50-51 (D41)]
In this article Bax elaborately sums up his objections against the astrological interpretation of some Bosch paintings and copies by Lotte Brand Philip (see Brand Philip 1958). At the same time he presents his own interpretations.
Bax cannot agree with the negative interpretation of the pedlar on the Rotterdam tondo because the protagonist is presented as a sympathetic figure. Bosch’s pedlar represents the weakness of man who succeeds in avoiding one sin (unchastity) but becomes the victim of another one (addiction to drink).
Bax thinks it is possible that the original of The Conjuror (the St. Germain-en-Laye panel is a copy) depicted an astrological child (a conjuror was a well-known child of Luna in the Middle Ages), but he cannot accept that the pedlar and the stone-cutter (see the Prado Cutting of the Stone) are astrological children as well.
He also finds it difficult to accept that in the foreground of the Haywain central panel Bosch would have painted the seven deadly sins, the five senses, the four humores and the four elements, all at the same time and in a rather messy way. According to Bax every scene we can see in the foreground of the central panel has something to do with the central motif of the triptych: the deadly sin Greed. Unchastity also plays a – be it secondary – part in these scenes.