Jheronimus Bosch Art Center

'A Rose by Any Other Name': Connoisseurship and Questions of Attribution in Jheronimus Bosch's Haywain Triptych

Lafontaine 2023
Lafontaine, Marie-Eve
Genre: Non fiction, art history
Uitgave datum: 2023
Bron: J. Koldeweij and W. Cornelissen (eds.), "Jheronimus Bosch - His Workshop and His Followers", 's-Hertogenbosch, 2023, pp. 204-227

Lafontaine 2023



“‘A Rose by Any Other Name’: Connoisseurship and Questions of Attribution in Jheronimus Bosch’s Haywain Triptych” (Marie-Eve Lafontaine) 2023


[in: Jos Koldeweij and Willeke Cornelissen (eds.), Jheronimus Bosch – His Workshop and His Followers – 5th International Jheronimus Bosch Conference, May 11-13, 2023, Jheronimus Bosch Art Center, ’s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands. Jheronimus Bosch Art Center, ’s-Hertogenbosch, 2023, pp. 204-227]



The research done by the Bosch Research and Conservation Project (BRCP 2016) has yielded interesting scientific data concerning the Bosch oeuvre, whereas Koreny’s book which was published in 2012 – focusing on drawings, underdrawings, and style – is based on connoisseurship. Koreny corrected pointed out that a great difference in style and technique appears between paintings which have been assigned to the same period by the BRCP. As it is almost impossible to ascertain exactly where the autograph works of Bosch end and the works of his assistants and followers begin, Lafontaine pleads in favour of a combination of the practice of connoisseurship and the interpretation of rigorous scientific data when it comes down to issues of attribution.


Koreny does not take into account the complex working practices of a late medieval artist’s workshop and draws a direct correlation  between the author of an underdrawing of a painting and its painter. As a result, he removed the Haywain triptych from Bosch’s autograph oeuvre assigning it to a left-handed assistant of Bosch. Lafontaine suggests that the Prado Haywain was most likely a collaboration between Bosch and one or more of his assistants. Koreny was right when he pointed out the left-handed underdrawing of the angel in the left interior panel, but left-handed underdrawings are not as evident in the rest of the triptych. Therefore, de-attributing the Haywain from the Bosch oeuvre seems a little premature.


Lafontaine believes that the number of Bosch works executed with active workshop participation is significantly higher than is listed by the BRCP authors, due to their reluctance to distinguish between different types of underdrawing. While the BRCP is extremely strong in technical analysis, it lacks the expertise in connoisseurship of Koreny, which is revealed in its treatment of the Bosch drawings, which lacks a certain depth of analysis. However, both publications (BRCP 2016 and Koreny 2012) are products of highly trained specialists. If comparative connoisseurship and the interpretation of scientific data are combined, this can lead to a sound methodology of attribution in the near future.


[explicit May 4, 2024 – Eric De Bruyn]

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