Artist, visionary, inhabitant of 's-Hertogenbosch.
He is 's-Hertogenbosch's most famous son. His paintings and drawings can be seen at important museums around the world. His unique imagery and surreal fantasies still inspire visitors, artists and scientists on a daily basis, 500 years after his death. From his birth in circa 1450 to his death in 1516, Jheronimus Bosch lived and worked in 's-Hertogenbosch which – at the time – was an important economic, cultural and religious hub. Jheronimus' paintings and drawings provide detailed reflections of the lives, thoughts and actions of people in the Medieval city. His characteristic works full of illusions and hallucinations, bizarre monsters and devilish nightmares depict the major themes of his time: seduction, sin and judgment, in an inimitable manner. The Garden of Earthly Delights, Cutting the Stone, The Ship of Fools, Christ Carrying the Cross. Jheronimus Bosch' fascinating imagery was and is literally boundless. His admirers and patrons came from all over and his unique dream images were understood and appreciated by cultures everywhere. That was the case 500 years ago and is still the case today. Because thousands of people continue to be astounded by Jheronimus' work at major museums every day. And contemporary artists around the world are inspired by his boundless imagination. Jheronimus Bosch's timeless paintings feed our fantasy, show us who we are and how we relate to life's big questions. They did so then and they still do now. There and here.
Jheronimus was born around 1450 in 's-Hertogenbosch as Jheronimus (or Hieronymus) van Aken. The Van Akens were painters: great-grandfather, grandfather, father and uncles used brushes and paints, and Jheronimus also learned the trade. The family often cooperated, first at a house on the Vughterstraat, later at the studio on the market square. Around 1481, Jheronimus married Aleid van de Meervenne, the daughter of a prosperous merchant. The couple, who would remain childless, continued to live at Aleid's house on the market square – the building exists to this day and you can visit it. Just like his grandfather and father Jheronimus became a member of the Illustre Brotherhood of Our Blessed Lady. Membership proved a source of inspiration to him and a window into a rapidly developing world. Jheronimus even became a 'sworn member' which led him to regularly mingle with 's-Hertogenbosch's socio-religious elite: the clergy and the university educated who had contacts at home and abroad. These meetings undoubtedly had a major influence on Jheronimus' life. If only because the people who attended regularly ordered work from him. However, Jheronimus' unique paintings became famous not just in 's-Hertogenbosch, but also much further afield: patrons from all over Europe commissioned paintings by him. Because many artists in the Middle Ages named themselves after their hometown, Jheronimus decided to change his last name to 'Bosch'. In this way, Jheronimus linked himself to his city, 's-Hertogenbosch, forever!