Even today our knowledge of the art of Hieronymus Bosch is largely dependent on the lengthy monograph compiled by Paul Lafond in 1914. Despite its early date, this monograph, which keeps to the analytic, encyclopedic and literary methods of the past, is fully documented, one of its merits being that it constitutes the first inventory of the works of Bosch, of his school and his immediate followers. It enumerates 42 works without any attempt at critical discrimination. It was implemented by the chronological researches made by Baldass ( 1917, 1938) and Friedläinder's stylistic analyses ( 1927). It is, however, to Charles de Tolnay that we owe the most searching and exhaustive study of Bosch's œuvre ( 1937). In it de Tolnay not only covered the ground traversed by his predecessors but opened up new paths of research. He inaugurated a critical method of approach involving the concordant use of several disciplines, and drew up the first catalogue raisonné (36 works), based on a close analysis of the master's style and intentions. Baldass followed this up (in 1943 and 1959) in a study largely concerned with the biblical allusions in Bosch's art; Jacques Combe ( 1946) examined its alchemical sources; Bax ( 1949) studied its local references and elements of folklore, and Fraenger (in 1947 and 1950) expounded its "heretical" symbolism. Outstanding recent works are the iconographical exegeses published by L. Brand Philip ( 1953, 1958), C. D. Cuttler ( 1957) and Fraenger ( 1957). Finally, we would draw attention to the capital importance of the theories advanced by E. Castelli ( 1952) and Van Puyvelde ( 1956).
Within the necessarily limited scope of the present essay, we have tried to situate Bosch's œuvre at the junction of a host of simultaneous influences and trends of thought, but without losing sight of its essential unity and, by the same token, of its quality, the only sure guide to solving problems of attribution. Thus, we venture to hope, we have helped prepare the way for assigning Hieronymus Bosch his appropriate place in the "history of sensibility" still waiting to be written. Our brief study of this artist's personality would have been more complete could an account have been included of his Protestant convictions and the large part played by the Old Testament in his outlook on life; this would have shown to what extent he may be regarded as a precursor, in the direct line, of both Rembrandt and Van Gogh.
We append a list of the works, some thirty in all, which, in our opinion, can be definitively attributed to Bosch: The Seven Deadly Sins (Prado); The Cure of Folly (Prado); The Ship of Fools (Louvre); The Man with a Cask (fragment, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven); The Crucifixion ( Brussels); The Conjurer (Saint-Germain-en-Laye); The Marriage at Cana ( Rotterdam); The Adoration of The Magi ( Philadelphia); The Hay Wagon (signed, Prado); The Bearing of the Cross ( Vienna); Ecce Homo ( Philadelphia;
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Publication information: Book title: Bosch: Biographical and Critical Study. Contributors: Robert L. Delevoy - Author, Stuart Gilbert - Translator. Publisher: Skira. Place of publication: Lausanne. Publication year: 1960. Page number: 125.