“Gebruiksvoorwerpen met een boodschap – Een aspect van de beeldtaal van Jeroen Bosch (2)” (Hans L. Janssen) 2002
[in: Bossche Bladen, vol. 4 (2002), no. 1, pp. 17-24]
On the occasion of the Rotterdam Bosch Exhibition (2001), a number of utensils in Bosch’s paintings were compared with archaeological findings from ’s-Hertogenbosch. This article (a sequel to Janssen 2001) focuses on the objects that were painted abnormally larger than life by Bosch. Probably, the artist was inspired by the art of illumination when doing this. Janssen primarily deals with the knives and the ceramics, that play a key role in Bosch’s symbolism of (mainly sexual) sin and punishment.
The archaeological material from ’s-Hertogenbosch shows that Bosch’s giant knives, complete with the ‘M’ logo, should be considered normal, fifteenth-century table knives. The pitchers seem to have been everyday domestic utensils as well, except for the standing pockmarked pitcher in the right interior panel of the Garden of Delights: this was a luxury good that belonged to a high-class, noble environment. Even the best paintings have both reliable representations and more stereotypical depictions, especially where ceramics are concerned. This points to the activity of a workshop, with a master and assistants.
Most of the knives and pitchers that Bosch painted are typical of the period ca. 1425 – ca. 1480. Material typical of the period ca. 1490 – ca. 1510 is almost completely lacking. This may mean that an earlier dating for most of the original Bosch paintings should be taken into consideration.
[explicit 7th September 2017]