The Jheronimus Bosch Lute pt.5 – a rose going public…

GiraffeLast weekend Sandra and I were guests at a living history event called “The World of Jheronimus Bosch”. It was held at two locations in the city; the “Parade” next to the St. John Cathedral and in the streets around the “Jheronimus Bosch Art Center”. One of the fun things is that throughout the whole town you will find elements of Bosch’ paintings. Life-size statues of strange creatures are hiding in parks, next to the water and in the street.

Sandra and JanOver 70 re-enactment groups attended, to the festival. Bringing their old crafts, making music or theatre. The interaction between the re-enactors and the audience is great. But one thing that’s even better is that all groups get to know eachother, sharing of information and (research) ideas.
Our direct neighbours were a woodworker, squaring a large oak beam (more on that later) and a maker of pilgrims insignia on the other.

Over the last months we worked hard to make our own clothes. We had a stand next to the “Tuighuis”, behind the Art Centre.

De Wereld van Jheronimus Bosch

Besides tools and documentation I brought a variety of instruments: the vihuela and renaissance guitar after Pieter Bruegel, two renaissance guitars after Guillaume Morlaye, the Stradivari guitar, and off course the Jheronimus Bosch lute…

image image image

Despite all the hard work of last week the lute wasn’t ready to be played. But it still turned some heads…

The Rose

To make it entirely Bosch-themed I wanted this lute to have a deep ‘wedding cake’ rose, like found in harpsichords and baroque guitars, but also occasionally in lutes.

Jan Cornelisz Vermeyen "The Cana Wedding" ca. 1530

Jan Cornelisz Vermeyen
“The Cana Wedding”
(ca. 1530)

Unfortunately no lutes with these paper/parchment roses survive, but there are some examples found in paintings. Like “The Cana Wedding” by Jan Cornelisz Vermeyen (right) a lute I am also reconstructing.

Attr. to Jan Sanders van Hemessen (ca.1635)

Attr. to Jan Sanders van Hemessen (ca.1625)

Comparison Van Hemessen - Vermeyen

Van Hemissen vs. Vermeyen

And just a few weeks ago I found this painting attributed to Jan Sanders van Hemissen (left) in which a similar lute is depicted. I say similar because there is a faint possibility that it is the same lute. Both painters worked for the Habsburg court in Flanders. It is possible they just used an instrument of their patron. It is at least striking how the elements (both are 6-course lutes with a light colored neck, small gothic window,  little square holes in the top and a deep multi level rose). But when we see them next to each other and compare the size of the hands, it seems that the “van Hemessen” larger than the “Vermeyen”. Also the rose of the first has a star-form in its center, while the Vermeyen is round.

But there are more examples, like these lutes painted by Gerard David (ca. 1460-1523).

Gerard David

The outer ones feature a multilayered rose and the gothic window. The lute in the middle has a flat rose, but clearly made of parchment/paper.

But what has this to do with Jheronimus Bosch? Well, let’s take a look at the soundhole of the lute in ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’…

Bosch Soundhole

The Mockery of Job - Jan MandijnThe color of the rose looks different from the soundboard. And it looks like there are deeper layers. Unfortunately the foot of the harp is blocking the view. But there is more, like in this copy of Bosch by Jan Mandijn…

Making a multilayer rose is easier than it looks. And it’s a beautiful and fun thing to design.

For the Bosch lute I wanted to make something special, a bit extravagant like his paintings. And to try to add elements from his twisted world…



The text around the border is a Dutch translation of Dante’s “Abandon all hope, all who enter here” which is written above the gates of hell in his Devine Comedy.

Roae parts

For the rest it’s hard to capture in one picture: devils, monsters, an owl, a knife and even a man with an axe attacking a bagpipe…

Bosch rose Rose

The main reason for a paper or cut rose is decoration, but it also tends to filter a bit of the sharp piercing highs out of the sound, making it more compressed and mellow than when an open soundhole is used. But this isn’t the only decoration that will be used on this lute. But more on that later. For now it already confused a lot of people…

This entry was posted in History, Jheronimus Bosch Lute, Re-enactment, Research, Uncategorized, Woodworking, Workshop and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Jheronimus Bosch Lute pt.5 – a rose going public…

  1. alexholdendotnet says:



  2. Awsome… It’s just great to follow this blog!


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