Jheronimus Bosch Art Center

Hieronymus Bosch

Ring 1950
Ring, Grete
Genre: Nonfiction, art history
Uitgave datum: 1950
Bron: The Burlington Magazine, vol. XCII (1950), pp. 28-29

Ring 1950


“Hieronymus Bosch” (Grete Ring) 1950

[in: The Burlington Magazine, vol. XCII (1950), pp. 28-29]

[Also mentioned in Gibson 1983: 150 (G90)]


Grete Ring briefly reviews three recently published monographs about Bosch: Fraenger 1947, Mosmans 1947 and Bax 1948. Regarding Fraenger she admits that she could not always follow his line of reasoning but nevertheless the book has made her look at the Garden of Earthly Delights in a new way. She has recently had the opportunity to see the triptych in the Prado again and she has noticed a number of details she had never observed before. The joy and the optimism that are displayed in the central panel have definitively convinced her of the fact that Bosch did not want to convey a moral message. She does not believe everything that Fraenger writes, according to her half of what he writes is even wrong, but that is not the essential point: probably Fraenger’s errors and wrong interpretations are a better help in understanding Bosch than a lot of ‘correct’ research. Most readers will admit: a very remarkable way of reasoning by Mrs. Ring.


The books of Mosmans and Bax (whose name is continuously spelled as ‘Dax’) offer a lot of new documentary material, especially regarding Bosch’s biography, but their stylistic criticism and interpretations are less fortunate, at least as far as Mrs. Ring was able to judge from the Dutch text. Two conclusions can be drawn from these two Dutch books: Bosch was already famous during his life-time and his relations with the Brotherhood of Our Lady were close and important.


Together with Bax Ring thinks Fraenger’s theory about the heretical Grand Master is ‘difficult to swallow’, but when Bax rebukes Fraenger for trying to find the key of Bosch’s art in Indian myths, orphic mysteries, Novalis and so on, she totally agrees with Fraenger, as Fraenger’s sources might turn out to be the correct ones: ‘The figure of Bosch is not to be caught in the narrow net of local topography and record offices, helpful as their evidence may be’.


Another very remarkable statement. As if Bax would only have based his book on archival sources and not on the broad cultural-historical field of Middle Dutch language and literature circa 1500. Furthermore, it was Mosmans, not Bax, who wished to recognize landscapes from the environment of ’s-Hertogenbosch in Bosch’s paintings. All this goes to show that Ring has not properly read the elaborate, Dutch-written book of Bax and in any case that she has not understood it correctly. Obliquely interesting is that she mentions that in 1947 Fraenger lectured in Brandenburg/Havel (in the Soviet zone).



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

searchclosebarssort-desc linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram