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SOLD OUT! Between Hell and Paradise. The Enigmatic World of Hieronymus Bosch

The extraordinary paintings of Hieronymus Bosch fill us with bemused amazement, enchanting us with their mysterious imagery, which takes us captive, unrelentingly, worming its way into our thoughts for days after looking at them. Between Hell and Paradise exhibition Museum of Fine Art, Budapest presents the art of Hieronymus Bosch, the Netherlandish master who produced one of the most emblematic oeuvres in the history of European painting, on a scale that is unprecedented not only in Hungary, but in the whole of Central Europe. Bosch’s surviving output stretches to just a couple of dozen painted works and around the same number of drawings. Almost half of his painted oeuvre, including numerous outright masterpieces, are now on show in Budapest, accompanied by a selection of significant visual and literary works that inspired Bosch’s unique and enigmatic vision of the world, and some of the most distinctive pieces created by the master’s workshop and his followers.

The catalogue explores the origins of Bosch’s art in four essays. Larry Silver discusses the master’s unique oeuvre, anticipating the tendencies of the following centuries, in view of the early Netherlandish painting tradition. Erwin Pokorny analyses Bosch’s art with a focus on luxurious codices on display at our exhibition as well as in the light of such significant manuscript illustrations as the Book of Hours of Mary of Burgundy, the Arthurian legends, or medieval treatises of natural sciences, revealing the secrets of nature and the wonders of the world. Eric De Bruyn gives an interpretation of Bosch’s most influential and most copied work, the Temptations of Saint Anthony triptych (Lisbon, Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga), as related to written sources, namely the legends of Saint Anthony, and the medieval handbook of the persecution of witches, the Malleus Maleficarum. Reindert L. Falkenburg assesses Bosch’s most enigmatic piece, the Garden of Earthly Delights triptych (Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado) in the light of late medieval court culture, and courtly love and its representations.
As several scholarly questions have remained unresolved concerning the execution dates and interpretation of Bosch’s works, especially the Garden of Earthly Delights triptych, the works’ chronological order and explanation in the catalogue reflects the authors’ own scholarly opinions.