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Hieronymus Bosch, Enemy Painter
Joseph L. Koerner
Joseph Leo Koerner pays tribute to the enigmatic artistry of Hieronymus Bosch. Active in the Netherlands around 1500, at the eve of the Protestant Reformation, Bosch was a master-portraitist of devils, nightmares, cosmic catastrophes, and hellish punishments. In cultivating evil as his strange artistic specialty, Bosch also cast himself as potentially demonic, a painter of enemies who might also be an enemy painter. A person of his time, Bosch nevertheless has relevance today, in our era of increased xenophobia and polarized politics.
An absorbing study of the dark paradoxes of human creativity, Bosch and Bruegel is also a timely account of how hatred can be converted into tolerance through the agency of art. It takes readers through all the major paintings, drawings, and prints of these two unforgettable artists ― including Bosch’s notoriously elusive Garden of Earthly Delights, which forms the core of this historical tour de force.
Joseph Leo Koerner studied at Yale University, Cambridge University, University of Heidelberg, and University of California at Berkeley. After three years at the Society of Fellows, Harvard University, he joined the Harvard faculty, where he was Professor of History of Art and Architecture until 1999. He was C-4 Professor of Modern Art History at the University of Frankfurt, a professor at University College London, then at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Koerner was awarded the Jan Mitchell Prize for the History of Art in 1992 and received a Guggenheim Fellowship 2006-7. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society and a Senior Fellow at Harvard's Society of Fellows.
Hieronymus Bosch is known for his Biblically-themed, often macabre, landscapes. Often considered the first surrealist, his extensive collection of work included fantastical depictions of humans and beasts. Take a look at his work in Bosch: the 5th centenary exhibition for a sneak preview of some of the artwork that will be covered in this lecture.
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