Het landschap van Bosch tot Rubens (G.J. Hoogewerff) 1954
[Uitgaven van het Willemsfonds – nr. 190, De Nederlandsche Boekhandel, Antwerpen, 1954, 128 pages + 64 ill.]
[Also mentioned in Gibson 1983: 66 (D104)]
The title of the first chapter in this monograph is: Hieronymus Bosch and his contemporaries [pp. 11-16]. Although Bosch’s landscapes are filled with the most fantastic elements, he still remains a skilled observer, even in his most bizarre creations. Within Bosch’s unrealistic world the bizarre creatures and growths make a ‘credible’ impression.
In the background of the Berlin St John on Patmos panel we see a broad river Scheldt landscape. This landscape does not have any fantastic elements, it is dream-like and yet it looks real. Fantastic elements do appear in the natural environment of St John the Baptist in the Wilderness (Madrid), St Christopher (Rotterdam) and St Hieronymus (Ghent). In this latter panel the background landscape is completely normal, though. Fantasy also plays an important part in the left interior panel of the Garden of Delights (Madrid), in the central panel of the Madrid Epiphany and in the St Anthony panel (Madrid).
Whereas with Bouts (and with Geertgen tot Sint-Jans) the landscape is composed in a rather theatrical and interpretative way, with Bosch realism and imagination reach a bold synthesis. According to Hoogewerff this contrast does not imply an evaluation, in other words he does not say that Bouts’ and Geertgen’s landscapes are inferior to those of Bosch.
Chapter 2, Joachim Patinir and his environment [pp. 17-27], mentions that the left part of Patinir’s Landscape with St Christopher (Escorial) has Boschian elements (the hut in the tree and the forge under it). The Madrid Landscape with St Anthony also reminds us of Bosch. Some details of the Madrid Landscape with Charon on the Styx have strongly been inspired by Bosch as well.