The social status of Hieronymus Bosch Book Cover The social status of Hieronymus Bosch
Blondé, Bruno and Hans Vlieghe
Nonfiction, art history
The Burlington Magazine, vol. CXXXI, nr. 1039 (October 1989), pp. 699-700

Blondé/Vlieghe 1989


“The social status of Hieronymus Bosch” (Bruno Blondé and Hans Vlieghe) 1989

[in: The Burlington Magazine, vol. CXXXI, nr. 1039 (October 1989), pp. 699-700]


Vandenbroeck (1987a) linked Bosch’s iconography to the mentality of the ’s-Hertogenbosch citizenry. His analysis was largely based on data about cities from the Rhineland. Vandenbroeck signalled that it was a pity similar data about the social topography and stratification of late-medieval Dutch cities are lacking.


In the case of ’s-Hertogenbosch such data are now available thanks to a study by Bruno Blondé which was published in 1987. Because Bosch’s name is mentioned in three tax-lists his economic status could be outlined more clearly. These archival data were already known (Gerlach discovered them, see Gerlach 1971b), but they had not yet exhaustively been interpreted from a social point of view.


From the tax-lists (1502/03, 1505/06 and 1512/13) can be concluded that Bosch belonged to the social and economic top layer of his city. The archival documents also tell us that in ’s-Hertogenbosch only a small elite possessed most of the wealth whereas the great majority of the citizens had to be satisfied with much less. At least from 1502/03 on Bosch was part of this well-to-do elite, and not of the middle-class bourgeoisie, as Vandenbroeck claims.