“Het geestelijk klimaat in de stad ’s-Hertogenbosch ten tijde van Jeroen Bosch” (P. Gerlach O.F.M. Cap.) 1969
[in: Brabantia, XVIII (1969), pp. 51-62]
[Reprinted in Gerlach 1988: 29-38]
[Also mentioned in Gibson 1983: 144 (G58)]
We have to look for Bosch’s patrons among the more educated, especially among the clergymen. These were able to inform Bosch about the things he painted.
The religious climate in ’s-Hertogenbosch around 1500 was very favourable: monasteries abounded and the city and its environment were known for their ‘mass of pious men and women’ who practised the ‘devotio’. Of course the clergy here was not without flaws, but the situation was not worse than elsewhere either.
Gerlach then offers a survey of the spiritual literature that was available to laymen and monastics in ’s-Hertogenbosch. He points out that it still has to be proven that Hieronymus was ‘obsessed’ with superstition, as is sometimes asserted. Only a meticulous study of superstition in Bosch’s time and social environment will allow conclusions in this respect.