“Bosch’s Dreams: A Response to the Art of Bosch in the Sixteenth Century” (Walter S. Gibson) 1992
[in: The Art Bulletin, vol. LXXIV, nr. 2 (June 1992), pp. 205-218]
In sixteenth-century literature and art there is a strong tradition that relates the imagery of Hieronymus Bosch to dreams. It is possible that Bosch’s demonic art was interpreted as the result of real dreams: this is being suggested by a number of sixteenth-century works of art that were influenced by Bosch.
After Gibson has signalled and analysed a few of these works of art (some of them very interesting) he concludes: on the one hand Bosch’s repertory of monsters evolved into Renaissance grotesques and on the other hand these monsters were seen as the result of nightmares, but in both cases Bosch’s devils are not treated as realities, not even as metaphysical realities. They are interpreted as ghosts, as manifestations of an irrational mind that has fallen to sleep. We may assume that in this way Bosch’s terrifying depictions of hell were transformed into dream stuff.