“Volkskundige elementen in het werk van Jeroen Bosch” (P.J. Meertens) 1953
[in: Volkskunde, LIV (1953), pp. 172-180]
[Also mentioned in Gibson 1983: 149 (G82)]
Meertens offers a mostly favourable but not uncritical review of Bax’ Ontcijfering van Jeroen Bosch (1948). Bax is called a man of wide reading and he introduces an enormous amount of material that is important for a better understanding of popular life circa 1500. But his monolithic folkloristic interpretations have wronged Bosch. Although Bax has explained a lot of details in a satisfactory way, he has not understood the essence of Bosch’s art. Is it possible to characterize a brilliant painter as a rederijker (rhetorician) with a cool, calculating mind?
Moreover, Meertens does not believe that Bosch hated the celebration of carnival and that in times of belief in witches he would never have painted a witch, as is claimed by Bax. Meertens does not understand why Bax refuses to conclude that Bosch was obsessed by sexuality and ‘found a secret pleasure in depicting all sorts of sexual aberrations, probably under the pretext of rebuking them’.