Followers of Hieronymus BOSCH
The Adoration of the Magi
Oil on panel, 106x74cm
Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450–1516) was a Dutch painter who is famous for his bizarre and fantastical paintings, which often depict scenes of hell and otherworldliness. His work was highly influential on other artists of the time, and a number of painters who were inspired by his style came to be known as the “Followers of Bosch.”
The Followers of Bosch were active in the 16th and 17th centuries, primarily in the Netherlands and Belgium. They often used Bosch’s signature style of depicting fantastical creatures and landscapes. Their paintings often had a moralizing or satirical message, and they were often used to warn viewers about the dangers of sin and temptation.
Some of the most famous Followers of Bosch include Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Jan Mandijn, and Pieter Huys. Their paintings can be found in museums all over the world, and they continue to be admired for their imaginative and unsettling imagery.
The Followers of Bosch were an important part of the Dutch and Flemish Renaissance. Their work helped to spread Bosch’s unique style and message, and they influenced a number of other artists who came after them.
This work, “The Adoration of the Magi” is one of the few repetitions of the central wings of the Bosch triptych, now in the Prado Museum in Madrid. Other famous versions are kept in museum collections in the USA and Europe. In a detailed article by Lota Brand Philip in Art Bulletin, XXXV, 1953, the iconological interpretation of this work, which has many, at first glance, unusual details and images.
Before the Madonna the elder sorcerer Balthasar is on his knees, he solemnly addresses the baby, like celebrating mass. He is served by the second sorcerer Melchior and the third – Caspar with his dark skinned servant. Jewelry golden figurine, which they offer Mother of God, depicts the sacrifice of Abraham, which hints at the future sacrifice of Christ. In the original, this decoration crushes the toad of heresy, almost visible in replicas. Melchior’s robe is embroidered with a biblical visitation scene. Queen of Sheba, King Solomon, an event hinting at the journey of the Magi to Bethlehem.
On the vessel with the world in the hands of Kaspar, three heroes ask for water from Old Testament King David – the biblical prefiguration of the “Adoration of the Magi”. On the lid – a sculptural figure of a pelican feeding with its blood cubs – a symbol of Christ. On the edge of Kaspar’s clothes, images of birds are visible – fruit-eating monsters with human heads. They, like strawberries in Kaspar’s hands and a swan on a helmet in the lower right corner, all over appearances are erotic symbols. A semi-nude figure in a red robe and turban, with gold with a chain fettering his hands, with an open ulcer on his leg at the door of the barn hut, according to experts – either the Jewish messiah, or heresy, peeping behind believers or, most likely, the Jewish messiah, smitten leprosy and turned into the Antichrist. The riders in the background are the host, following in the footsteps of the Antichrist to the last battle at the end of the world.
Private collection, Switzerland