Jheronimus Bosch Art Center

The Art of Laughter in the Age of Bosch and Bruegel

Gibson 2003b
Gibson, Walter S.
Genre: Non fiction, art history
Aantal pagina's: 48
Uitgever: The Gerson Lectures Foundation, Groningen
Uitgave datum: 2003
ISBN: 90-801691-6-1

Gibson 2003b


The Art of Laughter in the Age of Bosch and Bruegel (Walter S. Gibson) 2003

[The Gerson Lectures Foundation, Groningen, 2003, 48 pages]


This is the text of a lecture delivered by Gibson at the University of Groningen (The Netherlands) on November 20, 2003. The main subjects of the lecture are the ideas about laughing in the sixteenth century and the humour in the art of Bruegel. Laughter, for example as a remedy against melancholia, was more important in the sixteenth century than some modern authors think. Although the art of Bruegel, for example his Seven Deadly Sins drawings, conveys serious moral messages, it combines these messages with undeniably comical elements. Bruegel was not the only sixteenth-century artist to do so. In spite of its title, this lecture does not focus on Bosch at all. What it does mention, are the numerous sixteenth-century Bosch imitations that were produced in Antwerp. Bosch’s followers seem to be less inclined to warn of sin and its punishment in the Hereafter. Their primary goal seems to be to entertain by creating amusing diabolical figures.




  • Jos Koldeweij, in: Millennium – Tijdschrift voor middeleeuwse studies, vol. 18 (2004), nrs. 1-2, pp. 156-158.


[explicit 29th May 2019]

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