“Nieuw zicht op Jeroen Bosch” (P. Gerlach O.F.M. Cap.) 1969
[in: Ons Erfdeel, vol. 13, nr. 2 (December 1969), pp. 121-126]
[Reprinted in Gerlach 1988: 21-28]
[Also mentioned in Gibson 1983: 163 (H26)]
This is the text of a speech delivered at the 16th Congress of Dutch Historians in Amsterdam on April, 12 1969. Gerlach would like to attribute five works to a ‘Master of the Insect’: the Madrid Cutting of the Stone, the Valenciennes St James and the Magician, the Californian Conjuror, the Philadelphia Ecce Homo and the two wings with a Paradise and a Hell from a probably lost Last Judgment (New York). Gerlach considers the typical insect that can be seen in all of these paintings a signature.
He further suggests that the London Crowning with Thorns is not an original Bosch painting. The Paris Ship of Fools does not represent a ship of fools: there is only one jester to be seen and he does not make direct contact with the merrymakers in the boat. Gerlach would like to call the Hieronymus Cock print from 1559 (merrymakers in a ‘blue boat’) a Farce of St Francis and St Claire.
In the so-called Wedding at Cana (Rotterdam) we can only find reminiscences of the biblical story: the presence of Jesus and Mary and a man with six stone pitchers (see the Gospel according to St John). The miracle itself (water changed into wine) is completely invisible. The little child-bishop and the silver plates from the city lottery of 1506 point at an event in the ’s-Hertogenbosch circles. The swan suggests the wedding of a member of the Swan Fraternity, in the presence of family members and of two priests (identified by the stola they are wearing).
The central panel of the Garden of Delights is suggested to represent the paradisiacal life of man before the Fall.