Palazzo Ducale

Doge's Palace


ROOM 6 – Bosch’s followers and contemporaries in Venice

Jheronimus Bosch and Venice
Venice, Palazzo Ducale, Doge’s Apartment
February 18 – June 4, 2017


ROOM 6 – Bosch’s followers and contemporaries in Venice

The numerous followers and imitators of Hieronymus Bosch had a predilection for infernal scenes and “grotesque” themes: among the most popular were the Temptation of Saint Anthony. Such subjects found a wide market in Italy, as we know from the sources of the time and by their presence, even today, in Venetian collections.

“Boschian” motifs in prints

The “followers” of Jheronimus Bosch in the sixteenth century did not need to draw inspiration directly from his masterpieces.

The various typically “Boschian” motifs – the monsters, gigantic and misshapen heads, the chaotic and hellish landscapes, the strange pseudo-architectural buildings, the incredible vegetation – in short all the bizarre universe rightly or wrongly associated with Bosch ̶ were easily available through prints which, from the last decade of the fifteenth century made these compositions and motifs known to a wider audience.

Towards the middle of the sixteenth century, Pieter van der Heyden produced a series of prints based on Bosch’s inventions; other prints “after Bosch” were made in those same years by Johannes and Lucas van Deutecom. But it was above all van der Heyden’s series of the seven deadly sins made after drawings not by Bosch but by Pieter Bruegel, that popularised the “Boschian” manner north and south of the Alps.

Indeed, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, the greatest Flemish painter of the sixteenth century, began his career as the most gifted imitator in the “manner of Bosch”, and these prints are the best proof of this.