Cornelissen-van de Steeg et al. 2012a
Ruimte voor Jheronimus Bosch (Willeke Cornelissen-van de Steeg et al.) 2012
[Jheronimus Bosch Art Center, ’s-Hertogenbosch, 2012, 324 pp.]
On 26th March 2007 the Jheronimus Bosch Art Center (JBAC) opened its doors in ’s-Hertogenbosch. This study centre and museum, focusing on the works and the social environment of Hieronymus Bosch, accomodates (among other things) real-size photographs of all the master’s paintings and drawings and a comprehensive library. It has been housed in the former St. Jacob’s Church. Ruimte voor Jheronimus Bosch (Hieronymus Bosch Accomodated), a substantial and nicely illustrated publication, is meant to be an introduction to the JBAC and also offers a survey of the previous history of the museum.
The book is divided in three sections. In the first section Frans van Gaal discusses the history of the parish of St. Jacob and its link with the pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela. Special attention is allotted upon C.C. Prinsen, the first parish priest of the new St. Jacob’s Church (the accomodation of the JBAC today), which was built in the beginning of the twentieth century.
In the second section Frans van Gaal focuses on the building plans and the architects (Jan Stuyt and Jos Cuypers) of the St. Jacob’s Church. Wies van Leeuwen and Stephan Pas describe the exterior and the interior of the church.
In the third section Theo Hoogbergen tells about the plans that were made in ’s-Hertogenbosch from 1967 on to create a study centre focusing on Bosch. In 2000 these plans gained momentum when it was announced that the St. Jacob’s Church was going to be closed. Jo Timmermans writes a chapter about the astronomical clock, a modern reconstruction of the so-called Oordeelspel (Judgment Play) that could once be admired in the Church (later Cathedral) of St. John in ’s-Hertogenbosch. Willeke Cornelissen-van de Steeg and Frans van Gaal offer a survey of Bosch’s paintings. Willeke Cornelissen-van de Steeg analyses the tapestries with details from Bosch paintings (on display in the museum) that were woven by the Polish brothers Andrzej and Jerzy Mierzejewski around 1980. Frans van Gaal describes Bosch’s drawings and finally Willeke Cornelissen-van de Steeg and Frans van Gaal sum up a number of modern artists that were influenced by Bosch.
Not every chapter in this book knows how to grip its readers. Especially sections I and II are less relevant for those only interested in Bosch. The most instructive chapter is chapter 9, in which Theo Hoogbergen describes how the JBAC was realized. As has already been mentioned above, the book has a lot of nice illustrations, but the numerous printing errors, the stylistic flaws and the often sloppy layout (i.a. illustrations with wrong captions) lead to the conclusion that the final editing could have been a lot better. Not to be ignored is the interesting and very clear illustration (on page 288) of the Bosch drawing that only turned up at an auction (Sotheby’s) in New York in 2003.
[explicit 21st June 2015]