“Problemen rond Jeroen Bosch” (P. Gerlach O.F.M. Cap.) 1971
[in: Bijdragen tot de Geschiedenis, vol. 19/LIV (1971), pp. 56-86]
[Partially reprinted (only the part about signature) in Gerlach 1988: 91-95]
[Also mentioned in Gibson 1983: 144-145 (G60)]
In this article three ‘problematical issues’ regarding Bosch are dealt with. A first issue is: to which degree are paintings attributed to Bosch ‘master-pieces’ or workshop paintings? We know from an account dating from 1503/04 that Bosch had ‘knechten’ (assistants). From this Gerlach concludes that Bosch will have had a workshop, as was customary for artists in those days. Without adducing real proof for this, Gerlach also supposes that ’s-Hertogenbosch had a ‘painters’ guild’ in those days (such an institution has only been documented since 1546).
A second issue is the signature: signed works are not necessarily authentic and a gothic signature like the one Bosch used is easy to copy. Gerlach quotes the sixteenth-century author Felipe de Guevara who warns of the numerous Bosch imitations that existed in his days. According to Gerlach the use of modern techniques (laboratory research, micro-chemical analyses…) is appropriate here.
In a third and last section Gerlach deals with the question whether there has been a typical ‘school of painters’ in ’s-Hertogenbosch. He does not answer the question but offers a long enumeration of all painters, woodworkers, stained-glass artists etc. that are mentioned in the accounts of the Fraternity of Our Lady, in the Bosch’ Protocol and in the city accounts of ’s-Hertogenbosch during the second half of the fifteenth and the first quarter of the sixteenth century. These offer us the names of some of Bosch’s family members and teach us some things about the master himself (e.g. that his nephew lived in his house and that in 1504/05 the taxes he paid amounted to thirteen guilders + five stivers).