Browse Lots

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
Follower of Hieronymus Bosch
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VA… Read more
Follower of Hieronymus Bosch

The Harrowing of Hell

Details
Follower of Hieronymus Bosch
The Harrowing of Hell
oil on panel, unframed
14½ x 21 in. (37 x 53.3 cm.)
Special Notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.

Lot Essay

The composition relates to a group of paintings depicting The Harrowing of Hell by followers of Bosch, most notably that in the Royal Collection, Hampton Court (inv. no. 941); that in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (inv. no. 2715); and that in the Museum of Art, Indianapolis (inv. no. 63.10), there attributed to Pieter Huys. Elements of that composition were also incorporated in the panel of The Last Judgement in Tudela Cathedral, Navarre (see E. Bermejo, La pintura de los Primitivos flamencos en España, II, Madrid, 1982, p. 129, fig. 171). Gerd Unfervehrt (Hieronymus Bosch: Die Rezeption seiner Kunst im frühen 16. Jahrhundert, Berlin, 1980, p. 289) believed the prime of the group to be the Vienna painting, which he attributed to a follower of Bosch who may have taken details of the composition from prototypes by Bosch that are now lost.

As recorded by Lorne Campbell (The Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen. The Early Flemish Pictures, Cambridge, 1985, p. 11, under no. 7), four apparently different pictures of this or closely related subjects are mentioned in early sources as by Bosch. In 1574, King Philip II of Spain gave to the Escorial 'Una tabla prolongada, en que está pintada la Baxada de Christo nuestro Señor al Imbo y cómó los Sanctos Padres ... es de mano de Gerónimo Bosque'. The 1595 inventory of the collection of the Archduke Ernst at Brussels lists a 'Crucifix darunter ein Fusz von Linbo Patrum' by Bosch. At his death in 1598, Philip II still owned 'Una pintura de pincel, al ollio, sobre tabla, de Christo cuando resucitó al Limbo, con muchas figuras y disparates de Gerónimo Bosco...' Lastly Van Mander records a painting by Bosch of 'de Wael een Helle daer de oude Vaders verlost worden en Judas die oock mede meent uyt trecken wort met een strick opghetrocken en ghehanghen...' That one of those pictures, all now lost, may have been Bosch's prototype is therefore a real possibility.

More from Old Master and British Pictures

View All
View All