Bosch (Marcel Brion) 1938
[Editions d’Histoire et d’Art, Librairie Plon, Paris, 1938, 64 pages]
[Also mentioned in Gibson 1983: 2 (A10)]
Brion stresses Bosch’s pessimistic view of the world: his oeuvre shows the triumph of the diabolical creation which is a caricature of the divine creation (the devil as the Ape of God). With Bosch there are only few chosen ones, but many damned, apparently he was more interested in the weird attire of Christ’s tormentors than in the depiction of Christ himself and man is a fool who is submitted to the wiles of the devils, lurking all around him.
According to Brion a psychoanalyst might detect quite a number of fixations and aberrations in these paintings in which the anal aspect seems to play an important role. Starting from the depiction in the Recueil d’Arras Brion wants to recognize Bosch’s self-portrait in the fat by-stander on the Crowning with Thorns (London, National Gallery), in the devil who only has a head an legs to the right of Anthony on the Temptations of St. Anthony (Lisbon, Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga) and in the so-called Treeman on the right wing of the Garden of Delights (Madrid, Prado).
Brion’s text contains a whole series of errors and arbitrary statements, for example when he writes that Bosch took part in dramatic activities in his town of birth [p. 6], that Bosch travelled to Spain [p. 6], that the shepherds (sic) on the closed wings of the Haywain are quarrelling [p. 32] and that he painted a Last Judgement for Philip II [p. 38].