Jheronimus Bosch Art Center

Hieronymus Bosch - Een interpretatie van zijn Laatste Oordeelstriptiek te Wenen aan de hand van Middelnederlandse literaire bronnen

Steemers 1979
Steemers, H.W.
Genre: Nonfiction, art history
Aantal pagina's: 88
Uitgever: Alfa, Nijmegen
Uitgave datum: 1979

Steemers 1979


Hieronymus Bosch – Een interpretatie van zijn Laatste Oordeelstriptiek in Wenen aan de hand van Middelnederlandse literaire bronnen (H.W. Steemers) 1979

[Alfa, Nijmegen, 1979, 88 pages]

[Also mentioned in Gibson 1983: 101-102 (E171)]


Steemers relates Bosch’s Vienna Last Judgment triptych to non-mystical, visionary literary texts, in particular those from the Netherlands and dating from the period between the thirteenth and mid-sixteenth century. He does this in a more profound and more extensive way than other authors before him, not to demonstrate that Bosch really knew these sources and was influenced by them, but to point out similarities, thus bringing Bosch’s triptych back to life. The texts he quotes, belonging to the cultural environment of Bosch and his contemporaries, turn out to be clarifying and interesting comments on the scenes Bosch painted.


Steemers’ profound approach implies that the reader has to become thoroughly acquainted with the Vienna painting but Bosch’s paintings, and in particular his triptychs, demand such an approach. It is even a pity that towards the end of his analysis of the central panel Steemers gets somewhat sloppier and forgets to discuss a number of scenes.


The author clearly agrees with the vision on Bosch that considers the painter a moralist who was in close touch with his cultural environment. Steemers’ detailed description and cultural-historical analysis of the triptych makes him a close follower of Dirk Bax, whose even more detailed analysis of the same triptych would be published posthumously in 1983.




  • P. Gerlach OFM Cap., in: Spiegel der Letteren, vol. 22 (1980), nr. 2, pp. 134-137. See Gerlach 1980a.
  • R.H. Marijnissen, “Bosch, nog wat groen”, in: De Standaard der Letteren, 18th April 1980. Iconology has to paraphrase and explain the original content and message of the artist(s). Studies like Steemers’ contribute to this: from an intellectual point of view its method and intentions are good.
  • Hector Waterschoot, in: Boekengids, vol. 60, nr. 9 (November 1982), pp. 622-623. Bosch experts will not learn much from this little book and for the interested layman the illustrations of the triptych discussed are too mediocre in order to properly follow the author.



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