“Atelier Van Aken – De werkplaats van Jheronimus Bosch?” (Loes Scholten) 2014
[in: Bossche Kringen, vol. 1, nr. 1 (May 2014), pp. 51-56]
Recent research has again revealed major divergences in the style of drawing and painting within the oeuvre of Jheronimus Bosch. This is not surprising as medieval painter’s workshops functioned as working environments where a master worked together with trainees and assistents. Probably Bosch was leading such a workshop as well. In this article Loes Scholten summarizes what we know from the local ’s-Hertogenbosch archives about the ‘Van Aken Workshop’.
In 1462 Anthonius van Aken, Jheronimus’ painting father, bought a stone house at the market square of ’s-Hertogenbosch (the premises that currently have the address Markt 29 and where today the souvenir shop De Kleine Winst is located). Anthonius had three painting sons (Goeswinus, Johannes and Jheronimus). Although there is no definite proof of a long-time cooperation between Anthonius and his sons, there are a few indications that the sons learned their trade in their father’s workhop at the Market. After father Anthonius’ death (in 1478) Jheronimus, his brother Johannes and his sister Herberta sold their inherited part of the property to Goeswinus (in 1480/81), who settled there. Probably the family workshop (led by Jheronimus) continued to function in the parental house.
Around 1480, after his marriage to Aleid van de Meervenne, Jheronimus himself settled in a house that Aleid had inherited from her grandfather: this property, called ‘In den Salvatoer’, was located at the premises that today have the address Markt 61. We do not know whether this house also accomodated a workshop. Goeswinus died around 1495 and his widow Katherina keeps living in the property Markt 29 for some years, after which she passes it on to her son Anthonius Goeswinuszoon. His brother Johannes Goeswinuszoon problably lived there as well. The brothers were both painters (Johannes was a sculptor as well) and probably they continued the family workshop under the leadership of their uncle Jheronimus. In 1516 both Jheronimus and Anthonius Goeswinuszoon die (perhaps due to an epidemy of pleurisy). Probably Johannes Goeswinuszoon continued the activities of the family workshop for some more years. At any rate, in 1523 the property Markt 29 has a new owner. It is very likely that the workshop also accomodated trainees and assistents that did not belong to the Van Aken family: an account dating from 1503/04 mentions an ‘assistent’ of Jheronimus who painted three escutcheons for the Fraternity of Our Lady. We know nothing more about this assistent.
Within the context of Jheronimus Bosch 500 Loes Scholten is working on BoschDoc, a database that will bring together all known archival sources and printed texts about Bosch and his family older than 1800 in a scientific way, including photos of the originals. The database will be finished in 2016. For more information or a contribution Loes Scholten can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
[explicit 22nd November 2014]