Bosch’s paintings have elicited a number a responses over the centuries. Some have tried to explain them as alchemical symbolism, others as coded messages of a secret cult, and still others have tried to psychoanalyze them. Some have placed Bosch among the Adamites, others among the Cathars, and others among the Brethren of the Free Spirit, seeing in his paintings an occult life of free love, strange rituals, mysterious drugs, and witchcraft. As Büttner shows, Bosch was—if anything—a hardworking painter, commissioned by aristocrats and courtesans, as all painters of his time were. Analyzing his life and paintings against the backdrop of contemporary Dutch culture and society, Büttner offers one of the clearest biographical sketches to date alongside beautiful reproductions of some of Bosch’s most important work.
In his book, Nils Büttner draws on a wealth of historical documents to offer a fresh and insightful look at one of history’s most peculiar artists on the five-hundredth anniversary of his death.
Nils Büttner (State Academy of Art and Design, Stuttgart), Rembrandt Duits (Deputy Curator, Warburg Institute Photographic Collection) and François Quiviger (Warburg Institute) discuss 'Hieronymus Bosch: Visions and Nightmares'.
This event took place on 18 November 2021.
Renaissance Lives is a series of biographies published by Reaktion Books as well as a series of conversations discussing the ways in which individuals transmitted or changed the lives of traditions, ideas and images.