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Medium Well Done: 9 Ink and casein
Since ancient times, writing, drawing and paintings have been made using pigments and/or dyes in water, often without any binder as such. These are generically inks, which don’t conform to other media such as watercolours or the temperas. The most common among them is India ink, whose essential ingredients... Read more
Paradise in paintings
After yesterday’s visit to the underground dungeons of Hell, today’s paintings try to show the reward after life for those who follow the way of the righteous: Paradise. Paradise is a concept rather more peculiar to Christianity, and although there are pre-Christian equivalents in earlier and different European traditions,... Read more
Hell in paintings
Most religions have a concept or doctrine of Hell, a state or form of existence to which those who transgress during their life on earth pass when they die. Although Dante’s Inferno presents an unusually detailed vision of a very Christian Hell, the European tradition goes back to the... Read more
The devil you know – in paintings 1
Many if not all religions are based on the distinction between ‘good’ and ‘evil’, and in many cases these have become personified in terms of saints or angels, and devils. One of the puzzling aspects of Goethe’s Faust, which I’m currently tracing in paintings, is that Goethe described himself... Read more
A Summer of Bosch – books and exhibitions for his 500th
In case your calendar hasn’t already warned you: this summer we commemorate the five-hundredth anniversary of the death of Hieronymus Bosch (c 1450-1516). The official anniversary is 9 August, which will be exactly 500 years since his burial, but publishers and galleries are already hard at work building our... Read more
Book Review: Hieronymus Bosch, Painter and Draughtsman: Catalogue Raisonné, Ilsink and Koldeweij
“Hieronymus Bosch, Painter and Draughtsman: Catalogue Raisonné” Matthijs Ilsink, Jos Koldeweij et al. Yale UP and Mercatorfonds, May 2016 Hardback in slip case, 34.2 x 25.5 cm (13.5 x 10.1 in), 607 pp., £100/$150.00 ISBN 978 0 300 22014 8 Not available for Kindle, nor in the iTunes Store.... Read more
The Story in Paintings: Why do angels have wings?
I identified two of the figures in the striking and gruesome painting on the wall of an Etruscan tomb at Vulci as being Etruscan gods: Vanth and Charun. Unless you are already familiar with Etruscan myths, these should have come as a surprise, particularly because of Vanth’s resemblance to... Read more
Hieronymus Bosch: The Adoration of the Magi (New York)
Probably his earliest surviving painting, this depiction of the popular Christian story satisfies convention, but shows signs of Bosch’s developing originality and genius. The Artist: Hieronymus Bosch (c 1450–1516) The Painting: The Adoration of the Magi (catalogue raisonné no. 10) Dates: c 1470-80 Media: oil and gold on oak... Read more
Hieronymus Bosch: Ecce Homo (Städel)
This early work showing a key scene from Christ’s Passion is beautifully composed and rich in relevant detail. The Artist: Hieronymus Bosch (c 1450–1516) The Painting: Ecce Homo (catalogue raisonné no. 11) Dates: c 1475-85 Media: oil on oak panel Dimensions: 71.4 x 61 cm Location: Städel Museum, Frankfurt... Read more
Hieronymus Bosch: Saint Jerome at Prayer (Ghent)
This early painting of Bosch’s name saint is strikingly original, with details which are becoming increasingly sinister and idiosyncratic. The Artist: Hieronymus Bosch (c 1450–1516) The Painting: Saint Jerome at Prayer (catalogue raisonné no. 1) Dates: c 1485-95 Media: oil on oak panel Dimensions: 80 x 60.7 cm Location:... Read more