From Bosch to Breugel

A short movie about some of my favourite artists: Bosch, Bruegel, Dürer, Van Leyden, Matsys, Broederlam…

They give a couple of good points in the video. We do use these paintings and prints to interpret life in the past. But are they really depictions of everyday life? Or should we see these artworks as caricatures, enlarging and emphasizing – or perhaps criticizing – the things that stood out?

Did our ancestors wear colorful clothes and funny hats? Or is this an interpretation of the artist?

Where they eating and drinking a lot? Or was this a depiction of ‘gula’, one of the seven deadly sins.


Recreating history is always a modern interpretation. We simply can’t forget our own set of prejudices and knowledge from later ages. Looking at history has a hint of cheating, because we know where it led up to. We can try, but will always be something we create ourselves. And as our knowledge accumulates, some things we now we as ‘period correct’ will be later looked upon with a mix of compassion and pity, as nice but failed attempts to re-create the past.

Next year will be the ‘Jheronimus Bosch’-year in the Netherlands. Celebrating the 500 year anniversary of Bosch’ death. There will be a large exhibition in his hometown Den Bosch.

Specially for this occasion some of the largest museums in the wold will lend their Bosch paintings. Like the ‘Ship of Fools’ from the Louvre and the ‘Haywain’ and ‘Temptation of st. Anthony’ from the Prado.

The “From Bosch to Bruegel“-exhibition is now on display until the 16th of January 2016, in the Boymans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam.

The large Jheronimus Bosch exhibition will be in the Noordbrabants Museum, Den Bosch, between February 13 and May 8 2016.

This entry was posted in History, Re-enactment, Research, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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