Hieronymus Bosch (A. Vermeylen) 1939
[Palet-serie: Een reeks monografieën over hollandsche en vlaamsche schilders – deel 1: vijftiende en zestiende eeuw, H.J.W. Becht, Amsterdam, s.d. (1939), 60 pages]
In this monograph Vermeylen approaches Bosch in a very cautious and traditional way: as a member of the Brotherhood of Our Lady the painter is bound to have been a pious person. Bosch clearly possessed a satirical and moralizing spirit, using the natural forms as a means of symbolical expression.
Only regarding the Garden of Earthly Delights and the Lisbon Temptations of St Anthony Vermeylen points out that a psychoanalyst could detect a lot of sexual symbols in these paintings, but he does not give any examples. Bosch’s sometimes bewildering creations have to be understood as symbolical forms of ideas and they are never obscene.
Vermeylen sums up a number of the painter’s stylistic weaknesses (although these are not considered very important): Bosch did not care too much about the form of the human body (in this respect he seems to have been unwilling to learn from the ‘school’), in his early period the composition is sometimes a bit clumsy because of the confusing and overloaded structure and sometimes he uses bright colours to create special effects. Nevertheless, so many positive things can be said about the style that Vermeylen agrees with Justi (1889): Bosch the dreamer was a painter, and very much so.