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Snippet of The Renaissance: A History of Renaissance Art: Episode 29 - Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Brugel: Nightmares of the Renaissance

From Audio: Episode 29 – Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel: Nightmares of the Renaissance

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station description A History of Renaissance Art.
The Renaissance: A History of Renaissance Art.
Duration: 16:22
In this episode, explore the nightmarish worlds of Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel. Bosch’s visions of Hell would influence countless generations of artists. Bruegel picked up the themes of Bosch almost half a century later creating his own nightmarish visions.
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In this episode, explore the nightmarish worlds of Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel. Bosch’s visions of Hell would influence countless generations of artists. Bruegel picked up the themes of Bosch almost half a century later creating his own nightmarish visions.
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in this episode, we're gonna look at two artists, one Flemish and one Dutch who paint a similar apocalyptic world. Despite being separated by a generation, this episode is gonna be almost like a mini art history blast. Unfortunately, I'm unable to give you a full, detailed account of Hieronymus Bosch or Pieter Bruegel. We lack the sort of biographical accounts that we have with Vasari, and despite his embellishments and inaccuracies, it does give you a greater appreciation of his work. Her anonymous boss and Pieter Bruegel the elder have been giving the world nightmares for almost 500 years. They would be tremendously popular in northern Europe, even throughout the Protestant Reformation, when many religious paintings were being destroyed. Their work would even influence later surrealist painters as well as the founder of kitsch, the contemporary Norwegian artists, odd nerd REM and I think, given what we're experiencing today, with Cove in 19, we're likely to see even more references to Boss and Bruegel. So let's begin what we do know about the early life and training of Hieronymus boss. Okay, that's about it. There's not much to go on. And just like our previous Northern Renaissance artist We have very few biographies. We do know where he was born. If nothing else, that's the town of Hertogenbosch, and I am really trying with the Dutch pronunciations. And I know from past listeners I've mangled some Italian. So please bear with me and my Georgia accent. But I did look this up in the hopes of getting a proper Dutch pronunciation. The town of Hertogenbosch is where he would eventually take his name. Sometime in the 14 fifties, though, he did often signed his name, then Akin, which means from Aachen. And that's the town where it's most likely that his family comes from. We know little else of him or his family and nothing of his training. His grandfather and his father were artists, so it's likely he received training at home. Nothing else is known, and we don't have a clear idea of his father. Grandfathers work because nothing of their painting has survived. The past few episodes have really illustrated the debt we owe to Vasari. Even though his work contains errors, we are able to piece together aspects of the artist lives and give us some glimpse into their background with the early northern renaissance. And even today there is a lack of scholarly work in English when compared to that of the Italian Renaissance. Of course, there's a reason for this lack of evidence. As we discussed previously, The Netherlands was in the middle of the 100 years war and constant strife between various competing states. This makes recordkeeping difficult, if not impossible, not to mention numerous wars that follow, including both world wars, which cross through Belgium and the Netherlands. Much that might have been discovered has already been destroyed, and there's only seven works that we can ascribe to boss. And even among those there's debate among scholars. We will take a look at his most famous piece, one that we can confidently identify as a work of Hieronymus boss. And that's the garden of earthly delights. Bosses work often eludes modern scholars. He's been characterized as a madman, a mystic, a scholar and a social comment hair With so little to go on, the art historian can take their pick much of what he draws offer. His work has his basis in the fantastic imagery of the Middle Ages. In the Garden of Earthly Delights painted between 15 05 and 15 15. Interpretation is sometimes difficult, and the title itself is misleading. 19th century art historians believe Boss was depicting a heretical interpretation of the fall of man and even glorifying sin. They had an obsession with this sexual and erotic imagery in his work. And remember these air, the Victorians who saw sex everywhere so more likely their interpretation has more to do with their own time. That does, with bosses work. Most 20th century art historians reject this idea entirely. They see Boss as conforming to the Orthodox beliefs of his day. The three panel work depicts the creation of Adam and Eve and Man's Fall from grace and descend. In the first panel, we see the Garden of Eden without Um, and Ive and the Fountain of Life in the far right panel. Boss depicts hell in the tormented souls who dwell there. Earth exists between paradise and hell. The Peace draws his name from the center panel. The garden represents all of life's pleasures, and mankind is devoted to pursuing these. Each of the seven deadly sins are represented, but most prominently is the sin of lust. As the center panel is full of nude figures frolicking throughout the garden, even what appear to be multiple groupings and compromised positions in tree trunks and other structures. And even though sexist, prominent throughout the center panel, we mustn't forget the games. It sees minor distractions that divert humans from a life of piety. We have writers playing games illustrating the dangers of these pursuits. The flowers and the sweet fruits represent the fleeting nature of pleasure here on Earth, and we're reminded that all of Earth's pleasures air transient. In the upper portion of the center panel, we have beaker shaped Olympics. These were using alchemy in attempt to turn common metal into gold. Perhaps this is meant to symbolize unity of man and woman in marriage as a reflection of the image of God. But it may also allude to the process of salvation through Christ by bringing together unlikely elements. In the final panel, we see the results of man's folly. Damnation. Boss gives us fantastic images of monsters and otherworldly creatures who tortured the damn for their sinfulness on Earth. The gruesome anger test methods of torture parallel what we saw in the center panel, were presented with strange figures that more from human into some sort of strange vessel or tree like structures. Many draw parallels between these depictions and those of the Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali. Dolly was in fact inspired by Boss, but he pulls his fantastic creatures from European folklore and biblical tradition rather than the subconscious. When the two outside panels of the trip tick or closed, we see an image of the creation of the heavens and the earth. As told by the Genesis narrative, this fully encapsulate the theological narrative of the trip Tik. As far as the painting itself, we have no documentation of who commissioned it. But the painting would end up in the Palace of Hendrick, the third of Nassau Rada in Brussels, by 15 17 Onley year after Hieronymus Bosch's death. So how he came into possession of the work is a mystery, possibly he inherited from his uncle Engelbrecht, the second where he may have commissioned the large work himself upon his death. It would then pass to William of Orange, but was soon confiscated by the Duke of Alba and upon his death went to the collection of Philip, the Second of Spain in 15 91. This is why If you wish to see this painting in person, you must visit. The Prato boss would pass away with little fanfare. We only know of his death due to a reference in the account books of The Brotherhood of Our Lady of a Funeral Mass held for him on August 9th, 15 16. But his influence would be far reaching after his death. Many of his works would be confiscated by the Spanish hops Berg's and then carted off to Spain. His sketchy style and in pastas, thick passages of paint winds. Buyer later, artists such as Rembrandt, even 20th century artists like Dolly would take inspiration from his work. Our next artist was directly inspired by Boss, and that's Pieter Bruegel. Pieter Bruegel is much like boss, and we have very little information about him. Art historians believe he was born near Breda, but exactly where is unknown sometime in the 15 twenties. This is based on two biographical accounts from the 16th and early 17th centuries. The 17th century biographer Karel Van Mander places Bruegel in the workshop of Antwerp painter Pieter Coetzee. Check. Bruegel would marry his daughter Maria in 15 63 and her father would have his own role to play in the Northern Renaissance. Coed Van Elst spoke multiple languages and translated the work of a trivia so into Flemish it would become the first Italian Renaissance work to be translated into Dutch or Flemish. It also appears that CO EC was familiar with the work of Rafael through some of his own paintings. This would position him as the forefront of the Flemish Renaissance and Macon idea workshop for Brutal to become acquainted with the humanist ideas from Italy. Other than that, we have little else on Google's early life or his training. Thankfully, his career is slightly better documented than his early years. Once Burger was made a master painter in the Guilt of ST Lukes, he would travel to Rome in 15 52 while in Rome he would study the work of Michelangelo in the Vatican and the Sistine Ceiling. He would adopt some of Michelangelo's technique into his own work, combining it with the subject matter inspired by boss. Upon returning to Flanders, Bruegel would set up his own workshop in Antwerp, painting scenes of contemporary social and religious conditions. His market would soon include local scholars and government officials, including Cardinal Granville, the chief minister for the Hops, Berg's and Flanders. He would leave Antwerp for Belgium in 15 63. It's possible that it was to be near government officials who were purchasing his work, even though Antwerp was the center of the art market and Flanders. Another account by the historian Van Mander, stays that brew. Gal's mother in law requested that he moved to keep him away from a servant girl in Antwerp. Bruegel rose to prominence at the height of the Protestant Reformation. The Netherlands was an area of constant turmoil between religious factions. Even though Bruegel remained a Catholic within the Hapsburg controlled part of the Spanish Netherlands, the effect of the Protestant Reformation was still felt. The demand for religious art and decoration for churches ceased to be the main income for artists on both Catholic and Protestant sides of the Netherlands. Bruegel would paint many portrait like other artists, but he came up with creative solutions for religious devotional pieces that could appeal to both Catholic and Protestant patrons in the ever shifting tide of denominational affiliation. This is something many artists would do to protect their art and their careers, Gone were the days of Iand Annex altarpieces. Bruegel will go on to paint three versions of the Tower of Babel from the Genesis narrative. Today we only have to. The one he painted while in Rome has been lost. The remaining two are labeled the Great Tower in Vienna and the Little Tower and Rotterdam. Likely you have seen both of these pains before, even if you're unfamiliar with the artist. Both works were completed around 15 63 and have a similar composition. However, the great version in Vienna is much larger, but the tower itself is smaller in proportion to the figures. This version also contains a group of figures in the left foreground. Most historians believe this is the figure of Nimrod. So what's the significance of this story in northern Europe? Well, if you look at the paintings, you might notice something familiar the towers resemble. The Coliseum in the Coliseum represented Rome's hubris justice. The tower represented the hubris of Babylon. God destroyed the tower just as he destroyed the Coliseum, representing the futility of man's ambitions. This week could also appeal to brew Gal's Protestant clients, who might see the Coliseum as a representation of the Roman Catholic Church and the minds of many Protestants in northern Europe. The church and pagan Rome were one and the same. Despite Brunell's Catholicism's, this work could fit well within the new aesthetic of the Protestant Reformation. Bruegel painting of the procession to Calvary, however, probably has as much to do with Flanders as it does with the imagery of Jesus carrying the cross to Golgotha. He even painted himself among the Spectators hidden in the middle ground. The focus seems to be on the weeping in the mourning of the three Mary's in the lower right corner, and he uses the bright red coats of the guards to lead the viewer almost to a spiral towards the background of the peace the hill of Golgotha, where the crucifixion is going to take place. The entire scene seems to reflect the chaotic situation in Flanders during this time, with Spectators heading to watch Christ execution dressed in contemporary Flemish fashion, the landscape is dotted with corpses and the remnants of executions, not unlike northern Europe. During the Reformation, Bruegel would go on to paint a 12 part Siri's representing each month of the year we're going to look just at the return of the hunters, also known as the hunters in the Snow. This piece was most likely meant to represent January, and it was probably its title and is considered one of the most influential landscape paintings in northern Europe. It would secure brew Gal's reputation as a landscape painter. The painting depicts a group of hunters returning with their dogs in the village below. The people are skating on the ice, but the warm colors of the houses and the figures are offset by the cool blues and the icy greens of the landscape. Showing the harshness of winter, the hunters air entering from the left of the frame, and this shows us the beginning of the new year. Like most landscape painting of the day, Brussels work almost always contains some sort of religious meeting. In this case, it's meant to remind us that man is powerless in the face of nature and at the mercy of the seasons. Therefore, we must rely on our faith in God to find order and comfort in such a harsh world. Of the original 12 paintings on Lee, five are known to exist today with the return of the hunters of the hunters in the snow being the most prominent, and each one would have had its own moral somehow attached each month of the year. In 15 63 Bruegel would marry Mike and Co. EC. This is the daughter of his master, Peter Quick. The story by Van Mander states that her mother was behind Burkle's moved to Brussels and the hopes to end a flirtation he was having with the servant. Despite this might get in, Bruegel seem to have had a very successful marriage. After their move, Burger would have two sons with Mike and Pieter the younger and yon Peter. The elder would die while his sons were young in 15 69 and therefore will be unable to train him. Both will become famous painters in their own right. Yann would collaborate with Peter Paul Rubens on several works, including The Allegory of Sight, and Peter the Younger has been much of his career, making copies of his father's work. He had so thoroughly absorbed his father style that was often difficult to tell them apart. Peter Berger, Lee Elder would launch an artistic dynasty with both of these sons, and we'll go on to influence generations of Dutch and Flemish artist. Join me next time
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