De Salas 1972
“Hiëronymus Bosch – Ten geleide” (Xavier de Salas) 1972
[in: R.-H. Marijnissen et al., Hiëronymus Bosch, Arcade, Brussels, 1974 (2) (first edition: 1972), pp. 7-10]
[Also mentioned in Gibson 1983: 9 (A40)]
The foreword of Marijnissen et al. 1972, written by the then managing director of the Prado.
Philip II collected Bosch paintings: these were preserved in the royal palaces and ended up in the Prado. François I also collected Bosch works but none of these ended up in the Louvre: in France Bosch was not as popular as in Spain. The French Classicism, for example, disapproved of his wild fantasies. Some works from the collection of Philip II are only known to us by name: they were lost in the fires of the Escorial and of the Madrid palace in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, and during the pillaging by Napoleon’s troops. In Spain Bosch became an icon, which is proven by the great interest of Spanish writers in the master and his oeuvre.
Regarding the pedigree of the Garden of Delights: it was first located in the Brussels Nassau Palace (according to Antonio de Beatis’ travel journal). In 1567/68 the triptych was confiscated and came into possession of don Fernando de Toledo, a prior and illegitimate son of Alva. Philip II purchased it from his legacy in 1591.
What is the deeper ground of this Spanish interest in Bosch? A similar approach of things: like Bosch, some of the best Spanish writers (Cervantes, Quevedo) intermingle reality and fantasy (the same use of meticulous, realistic details within an ethereal global context). De Siguença sees a parallel between Bosch and the oeuvre of Merlin Coccai: this is important for the interpretation of Bosch.