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The dreamlike and monstrous Renaissance of Hieronymus Bosch

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The dreamlike and monstrous Renaissance of Hieronymus Bosch

Its creatures question us: monstrous, hybrid and fragile, they are fragments of a dream that we cannot grasp. From 9 November 2022 until 12 March 2023 at Palazzo Reale in Milan “Bosch and another Renaissance”. Far from Florence, from Tuscany, in southern Europe, Bosch invents a way of painting by mixing visions and techniques that make his work unique, revolutionary, so original as to influence artists from every country.

Hieronymus Bosch at the Royal Palace in Milan

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Irrational and dreamlike Renaissance

It is the other Renaissance, irrational and dreamlike that disturbs the painters of his time: this is the powerful thesis of the curators, this is the idea that the exhibition leaves to every visitor. The exhibition itinerary presents about a hundred works of art, including paintings, sculptures, tapestries, engravings, bronzes and ancient volumes, including about thirty rare and precious objects from wunderkammern.

Some of Bosch’s masterpieces are exhibited, works derived from the Maestro’s subjects – never presented together in a single exhibition – very few works attributed to a Flemish genius. Unfortunately, due to the delicacy of the state of conservation, some works will have to return to their museums before the end of the exhibition; until February 12, it will be possible to see “Meditation of St. John the Baptist” and “The vision of Tundalo” from the Lázaro Galdiano Museum in Madrid and until January 29 the tapestry “Assault on a turreted elephant” and “Scene with an elephant” from Uffizi Galleries. A Dutch landscape with farms and fields is the background to the triptych “The temptations of Saint Anthony”, an exceptional loan from the Museo de Arte Antiga in Lisbon; the suffering Saint is surrounded by evil that takes on unusual forms: men-feet, ears, sitting, inside a destroyed chapel the crucified Christ appears far away, awaiting the Resurrection.


The exhibition dedicates a section to the “Temptations” of various authors, about forty are known so far. Here again Antonio with Girolamo and Egidio in the “Triptych of the Hermits” loaned by the Galleries of the Academy of Venice, formerly of the collection of Cardinal Grimani.

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Mysterious and magical, like his life

If Bosch’s works are famous, his life continues to be a mystery. Hieronymus Bosch was born on 2 October 1453, his is a family of painters, the van Aacken, the surname Bosch comes from his city s-‘Hertogenbosch, in Brabant, now Holland, which at the time belonged to the Holy Roman Empire, between the North of Belgium and the South of the current Netherlands. The Master’s masterpieces are inspired by folklore, symbolism and medieval legends, magic and popular culture of his land. His work is extraordinary for the time, so different from contemporary artists such as Dürer and Tiziano that his paintings begin to travel very early; in the sixteenth century they arrived in Venice at the request of the noble collector Cardinal Dominico Grimani, from Italy and Spain Bosch’s dreams spread throughout Europe.

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