The Art of Finding Bosch’s Mirrors

I wrote, albeit briefly, about Bosch and his mirrors and considered that the issue covered, at least for a moment (‘for a moment’, because you can’t really ‘cover’ the master; the task impossible, on can only enjoy the “eternal return of the same Bosch”).

But at least I was pretty sure that I really found all his mirrors. To only find another one – at least, another mirror suspect.

What helped me to “discover” this mirror was a lecture by one Joseph Leo Koerner about Bosch, even more precisely, about one of his paintings, the very Garden of Earthly Delights.

Joseph Koerner is one of the most well-known explorers of the German art of the “Fall of the Middle Ages” period (he recently published a very interesting work on the impact of the Reformation on the visual arts, The Reformation of the Image – including Dürer, Cranach, and Baldung – in fact, I found this lecture by Koerner when gathering information about the latter one). But this lecture is not about his recent studies, but on Bosch, his other favorite master.

The lecture is entitled Art as Knowledge: The Unspeakable Subject of Hieronymus Bosch; the link (used to) lead to the video, about an hour long. His take is very interesting, although not without some remarks; but that’s ok, that’s normal. The style of his presentation, however, is one of those typical Art English speeches: a hardcore academic slang of art criticism, plus not even told, but read out loud from the piece of paper. Therefore, I wouldn’t even call it a lecture, technically speaking; it’s a public reading of the already prepared text, most likely one of those prepared in view of the coming 500th anniversary of Bosch we will be celebrating in 2016. I’m not complaining, this situation is also ‘normal’ in the art  world, even if very unfortunately.

I am not going to retell the lecture, it’s worth listening it in full if you are interested in the subject. What I can do is to provide some sort of visual story-board for this talk (and at the end will show the mirror I found)

1. This is the most important argument for Koerner (or of Koerner); you can easily guess what he is leading to, of course.





As a result of my attentive examining of the Garden one more time I stumbled upon this mirror. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure it’s a mirror – it may turn out to be a shield as well (especially having in mind that there is a crossbow hanging on the nearby rack).

But why not to indulge into wishful thinking? 🙂




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