» Hieronymus Bosch Biography

 by Susan Belmont - December 5, 2003

hieronymus boschBosch was one of the most creative painters of his times. Although his paintings were meant to be horrific images to strike the fear of hell in the Catholics of his days, one can noticed elements of symbolism and surrealism in them, which inspired many painters of these styles through the years.

Fear Of The Darkness

Jerome Van Aken was born circa 1450 in Hertogenbosch, Netherlands. His family is considered to have gone from the German town of Aachen to that Dutch city, some time in the late 14th century.

Hieronymus' father, Anthonius Van Aken was a painter, and also one of Bosch's brothers, Goossen, worked in the same métier. Around 1479, he married the wealthy Aleyt Goyaerts van den Meervenne, who was a few years his elder.

In 1486, Bosch joined the Brotherhood Of Our Lady, a secular religious order of which his entire family was part, and that had much influence on the cultural life of his city. They commissioned several paintings to decorate their chapel and some of these were Bosch's.

Bosch is told as being a highly moralist and pessimistic man, who chose the themes of his paintings as sermons, which must have been directed to the initiates of his brotherhood. For some time, the symbolist nature of his works made the scholars allege that he must have been a practitioner of the occult arts, but this theory isn't accepted now.

Nowadays Bosch is taken as a very talented artist, who was one of the first abstractionist painters and who must have had a great knowledge of the human psyche in order to make such enthralling works.
bosch's painting
His first works showed many flaws in his composition and technique. The paintings "The Cure Of Folly", "The Seven Deadly Sins", and "The Conjurer" are a few of the works of this period.

His mid-life's works usually have the same motif and are more sophisticated, showing still a limited technique, but with a more complex imagery. 

Two of the paintings of this period are "The Garden Of Earthly Delights" and "The Temptation of St. Anthony".

All these paintings showed the fragility of the human will against certain temptations as violence, evil, lust, heresy, etc. But this time they started to have the fantastic element in them, marking the Bosch's breakthrough of the style of his times.

In his last years, his themes became more conventional and calm, and among the paintings of this period are "St. John The Evangelist in Patmos" and "St. Jerome in Prayer".

The study of his works is very difficult because of the 40 paintings attributed to him, only 7 are signed, and none of them is dated. Apart from the painting, he used to make decorative works, altarpieces and designs for stained glass. He died in 1516 in the same city in which he was born and lived all his life.

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