Jheronimus Bosch Art Center

Kijkhulp bij Jeroen Bosch - De Gouden Legende, 13de eeuw

Hulspas 2023
Hulspas, Marcel
Genre: Non fiction, art history
Uitgave datum: 2023
Bron: Geschiedenis Magazine, 58/6 (September 2023), pp. 16-18

Hulspas 2023



“Kijkhulp bij Jeroen Bosch – De Gouden Legende, 13de eeuw” (Marcel Hulspas) 2023


[in: Geschiedenis Magazine, vol. 58, nr. 6 (September 2023), pp. 16-18]



Jacobus de Voragine’s Golden Legend (circa 1265) offers a lot of information that can lead to a better understanding of old art. The interior panels of Jheronimus Bosch’s Prado Adoration of the Magi triptych, for example, has a number of details referring to a cruel, lawless, and ignorant world. The so-called ‘Fourth King’ is not the Antichrist but ‘some sort of foolish king, worshipped by fools’. The author relates this to a passage in the Golden Legend (chapter 1) which describes the situation of the world before the coming of Christ: we were ignorant or blind, liable to eternal punishment, slaves of the devil, shackled with sinful habits, enveloped in darkness, exiles driven from our true country. Therefore we had need of a teacher. More than likely, Bosch was inspired by these lines, and he painted the world before the coming of Christ in the interior panels of the Prado triptych.


The expertise of this author is of a doubtful nature. One example: in the figure of Joseph, who is drying the Christ Child’s napkins in the left interior panel, he sees ‘a monk (who) is hiding in the ruins of a monastery, underneath a small roof with a hole in it. Instead of repairing the hole he is drying his clothes next to a fire’ (translated from the Dutch).


[explicit November 12, 2023]

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