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Hieronymous Bosch (Library of Great Painters)
by Carl Linfert
ISBN 0810900432 / 9780810900431 / 0-8109-0043-2
Publisher Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
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111 illustrations, including 48 hand-tipped plates in full color. From dust jacket notes: "Even in his own day, the strange canvases of Hieronymus Bosch attracted wonderment and awe; yet those contemporaries who so admired them at that time were almost wholly blind to the astonishing vision of the future that lay hidden within the paintings. They could only perceive the here-and-now, and the ever-present fear of demons that pervaded those years before the Reformation found ready confirmation in the fantastic inventions of Bosch's possessed and haunted world. Not many decades later, this was no more than a memory, and from then on Bosch was esteemed as, at most, the ingenious creator of fiendish images and ghostly apparitions. This has all long since changed. Scholars now see what the painter saw, which - while still largely expressed in terms of fable and horror - was always far from being a mere fairy-tale world. What Bosch saw was the fortunes and misfortunes of mankind; and although he concealed his vision within a cipher language that leads from one riddle to another, his message is always fundamentally comprehensible, never ambiguous. Bosch was a realist. His works go far beyond the accustomed limits of the picture: they proclaim the unknown. Bosch sees and paints violence, threats, the terror of machinery. In an age when mechanical technology was in its infancy, his paintings were prophetic in showing how the machine can menace, overpower, and ultimately enslave man himself....Carl Linfert, the distinguished German art critic and author, closely links the scanty known details of the artist's life to his expert and illuminating analyses of the paintings. He proposes a convincing chronology for all the most important works and explains many of Bosch's enigmatic images, providing the reader with fascinating insights into the artist's thought and the key to an understanding of his achievement...." [via]