Rotterdam, Musem Boijmans van Beuningen,
through 11 November 2001.
The impact of Bosch’s notebooks, together with carefully selected paintings, reminds us, among other things, of Bruegel’s own debt to Bosch as the initiator of key images. A work such as ‘Big fish eat little fish’ by Bruegel can reveal this debt without any undue prompting. Bosch was an inventor of imaginary beasts, and Bruegel did acknowledge this debt. In the first edition of the engraving by Pieter van der Heyden, for which Bruegel’s drawing was the preparatory work, Bosch’s name is duly credited, as ‘inventor’. Bosch is also re-emphasised as a ‘spoiler’ painter, upsetting Renaissance perfectibility by the introduction or insertion of the inconceivable: the two panels, ‘Saint John on Patmos’ and ‘Saint John the Baptist’ are cleverly brought together here, to this end. ‘The Pedlar’ is shown with its proper encasing; three panels as one narrative, not as isolated works. Bosch soars above the menagerie of monsters that he created, a painter who could reveal the devils inside the human mind, when the mediaeval world only saw them outside. Bosch reveals a grace and balance of ingredients here. We do not need further reconstructions of hypotheses about Bosch’s mysterious life. The mystery that has served his public well through the ages will continue.
Bosch has also served as an inspiration for 20th century painters – the Australian Arthur Boyd springs to mind, who drew both from Bosch and from Bruegel. Bosch, perhaps, represents the antithesis of urbanity and civility, instead he represents the unpredictable, unfathomable nature against which agrarian society remains pitted. Witness, pedlar, the spread of foot-and-mouth disease, the massive slaughtering and the sense of uncontrollability against nature’s way.
Netherlands ⇄ Bauhaus: Pioneers of a New World
This show celebrates the centenary of the founding of the Bauhaus, guiding you through the fascinating history of a movement that still has enduring relevance
Nguyen Trinh Thi – interview: ‘I want to unpick the way we look at things’
The Vietnamese film-maker talks about documenting female spirits, regional journalism and the ecological destruction of Vietnam’s heartlands
The EY Exhibition: Wifredo Lam
He fought in the Spanish civil war, was exiled from France by the Nazis and returned to his native Cuba to find it utterly changed. His genius was to turn his experiences into a unique portrait of his time and his place
Peter Howson in conversation
Peter Howson grew up in Glasgow in the 1960s and attended Glasgow School of Art from 1975 to 1979. In 1993, he was appointed official British war artist for Bosnia by the Imperial War Museum.
George Gittoes has worked in many war zones over the past 40 years, including Rwanda, Bosnia, Somalia and, most recently, Iraq and Afghanistan. His work depicts a variety of horrors that he has observed in his visits, or which have been relayed to him.