Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Bosch and the lower class
A sketch for yet another page of my biographical comic on Jheronimus Bosch. Here, our man gets in touch with the lower class. This composition was somewhat inspired by The temptations of Saint Anthony by his contemporary (and influence!) Martin Schoengauer, and a painting that is lost but known by way of a copy as tapestry, "A Saint leaves town" with sports scores of crippled beggars.
It should be noted that Bosch was probably not a rich man. He owned a house (through the marriage to a merchant's daughter) on the markt of 's Hertogenbosch and it is established in archives that belonged to the class who had to pay the heaviest taxes. Yet after taxes and investments in working materials, he might not have been left with that much. Artists were seen as artisans and the prices were fixed as the guild code commended. Only big stars like the brothers Van Eyck of Albrecht Duerer rose above that. I don't think it was the case with Bosch. His city was on the periphery of Burgundy. A thriving city, but without a court, bishop or university and with not too much of a cultural life, compared to let's say Flanders at that time. On the other hand, that relative isolation may have made him to be one of the most original artists of all time.