“The Spanish inventarios reales and Hieronymus Bosch” (Paul Vandenbroeck) 2001
[in: Jos Koldeweij, Bernard Vermet and Barbera van Kooij (eds.), Hieronymus Bosch. New Insights Into His Life and Work. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen-NAi Publishers-Ludion, Rotterdam, 2001, pp. 48-63]
In 1975 and 1989 Paul Vandenbroeck studied the Spanish royal inventories in which works by Bosch (or works attributed to Bosch) are frequently mentioned. A large number of relevant entries are published in this contribution, in the Spanish original and with an English translation. A number of these entries had already been published elsewhere in the past: the works from the collection of Felipe de Guevara that were bought by Philip II (1570), the works of art that Philip II ordered to be transferred to the Escorial (in 1574 and 1593) and the works of art from the royal collections in inventories that were made up after the death of Philip II (1598-1607). A number of entries are being published here for the first time. They concern an inventory of works of art in the Casa Real del Pardo from 1614 and inventories of the works of art in the old Alcàzar in Madrid from 1636, 1686 and 1700.
The importance of this contribution is self-evident. Among other interesting things these old inventories provide us with a number of descriptions of the Haywain and Garden of Delights triptychs. On the other hand there is a risk that Vandenbroeck holds the attributions to Bosch in these inventories in too high esteem, which can sometimes lead to wrong conclusions. A good example of this can be found on page 56, where an inventory from 1614 attributes a canvas with the title Las Bodas (The Wedding) to Bosch. Paintings with burlesque weddings by the hand of Bosch have not come down to us, but we do know that the sixteenth-century artist Frans Verbeeck from Malines (Mechelen) painted them. In note 45 Vandenbroeck jumps to the conclusion that this inventorial entry indirectly confirms that in the Netherlands Bosch was the first to paint such burlesque weddings.