“Filips II en Hieronymus Bosch” (J.V.L. Brans) 1959
[in: Dietsche Warande & Belfort, 1959, nr. 3, pp. 139-146]
[Also mentioned in Gibson 1983: 32 (C6)]
It has been claimed that Philip II was partial to the art of Bosch because they both had vicious and erotic-sadistic inclinations. But Bosch was not a pathological sadist. He had a rich arsenal of older examples at his disposal, witnessed with his own eyes all kinds of executions and mirrored in lines and colours the writings and sermons of the clergy, abounding with symbols and threats.
Realizing this, one also understands that Bosch’s often brutal way of expressing himself speaks the language of his times. This is all about moralizing and admonishing, about stimulating people to fight against the permanently increasing decline in moral and religious standards at the end of the Middle Ages.
Regarding the king of Spain: the royal inventories point out that he did not only collect the diabolical visions and Passion scenes of Bosch. He was also interested in (and purchased) pious, deeply religious depictions and in particular genre paintings.