Bosch and Bruegel: From Enemy Painting to Everyday Life - Bollingen Series XXXV: 57

Bosch and Bruegel: From Enemy Painting to Everyday Life - Bollingen Series XXXV: 57

by Joseph Leo Koerner

Hardcover(Bollingen Series XXXV: 57)

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A bold new interpretation of two northern Renaissance masters

In this visually stunning and much anticipated book, acclaimed art historian Joseph Koerner casts the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel in a completely new light, revealing how the painting of everyday life was born from what seems its polar opposite: the depiction of an enemy hell-bent on destroying us.

Supreme virtuoso of the bizarre, diabolic, and outlandish, Bosch embodies the phantasmagorical force of painting, while Bruegel, through his true-to-life landscapes and frank depictions of peasants, is the artistic avatar of the familiar and ordinary. But despite their differences, the works of these two artists are closely intertwined. Bruegel began his career imitating Bosch's fantasies, and it was Bosch who launched almost the whole repertoire of later genre painting. But Bosch depicts everyday life in order to reveal it as an alluring trap set by a metaphysical enemy at war with God, whereas Bruegel shows this enemy to be nothing but a humanly fabricated mask. Attending closely to the visual cunning of these two towering masters, Koerner uncovers art history’s unexplored underside: the image itself as an enemy.

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. Elegantly written and abundantly illustrated, the book is based on Koerner’s A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, a series given annually at the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691172286
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 12/06/2016
Series: The A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts , #209
Edition description: Bollingen Series XXXV: 57
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 11.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Joseph Leo Koerner is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of the History of Art and Architecture and Senior Fellow of the Society of Fellows at Harvard University. His previous books include The Moment of Self-Portraiture in German Renaissance Art, The Reformation of the Image, and Caspar David Friedrich and the Subject of Landscape.

Table of Contents

Preface viii

Acknowledgments xii

Introduction Parallel Worlds

Chapter 1 In the Art-Historical Museum 2

Chapter 2 Life Time 11

Chapter 3 World Time 45

Chapter 4 From Bosch to Bruegel 77

Part I Hieronymus Bosch

Chapter 5 Enmity 96

Chapter 6 Among the Idols 151

Chapter 7 The Unspeakable Subject 179

Chapter 8 Self-Portraiture 223

Part II Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Chapter 9 History 268

Chapter 10 Culture 305

Chapter 11 Nature 331

Notes 365

Index 401

Photography and Copyright Credits 411

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"In this magisterial book, Joseph Koerner explores the role of Bosch and Bruegel in the great early modern shift of the ends of art from theological explanation to time-bound description, from being to picturing. Along the way, he offers a rich account of a newly global culture and a violently contested religious milieu where the status of images was itself an issue of life and death."—Susan Stewart, author of On Longing and The Poet's Freedom: A Notebook on Making

"Bosch and Bruegel is a magnificent book—massively erudite, profoundly human, and sometimes even shatteringly poetic. Koerner is a marvelously compelling writer."—Claudia Swan, Northwestern University

"A tremendous achievement. Koerner is one of the most gifted and intelligent art historians at work anywhere, as well as a remarkably fluent and resourceful stylist capable of presenting extremely subtle and persuasive readings in elegant and simple prose."—Michael Fried, author of The Moment of Caravaggio

"Insightful and encyclopedic. Koerner renders fresh and thought-provoking paintings that have been seen and discussed for centuries."—Keith Moxey, author of Visual Time: The Image in History

Customer Reviews