Lot 5
  • 5

Follower of Jheronimus Bosch

30,000 - 50,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Jheronimus Bosch
  • the harrowing of hell
  • inscribed on the reverse in an old hand: Orijinal/ de el Bosco, Pintor famoso. que pintaba lo que soñaba
  • oil on oak panel


In the collection of the present owner's family for at least three generations.

Catalogue Note

The composition is known in several versions; in the Royal collection at Hampton Court (inv. no. 941); in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (inv. no. 2715); and in the Museum of Art, Indianapolis (inv. no. 63.10). The latter is there attributed to Pieter Huys, while the others are given to an anonymous follower of Hieronymous Bosch. Unverfehrt1 considered the composition to have been put together using elements from a variety of Bosch originals that are now lost.

Four paintings by Bosch of this subject are mentioned in early sources: in 1574 Philip II of Spain gave to the Escorial 'Una tabla prolongada, en que està pintada la Baxada de Christo nuestro Señor al Imbo y cómo sacó los Sanctos Padres... es de mano de Gerónimo Bosque';2 in the 1595 inventory of Archduke Ernest of Brussels is listed a picture by Bosch of a 'Crucifix darunter ein Fusz vom Linbo Patrum';3 at the time of his death Philip II owned 'Una pintura de pincel, al ollio, sobre tabla, de Christo cuando resucitó al Limbo, con muchas figuras y disparates de Gerónimo Bosco..';4 and in his life of Bosch van Mander mentions a picture then in Amsterdam of similar description.5 It seems likely that one of these four paintings, all now lost, was the Bosch prototype that served as the source for this composition.

1. G. Unverfehrt, Hieronymous Bosch: Die Rezeption seiner Kunst im frühen 16. Jahrhundert, Berlin 1980, pp. 203, 289.
2. J. Zarco Cuevas, Inventario de las alhajas..., Madrid 1930, p. 117.
3. M. de Maeyer, Albrecht en Isabella en de schilderkunst, Brussels 1955, p. 260.
4. F.J. Sánchez Cantón, "Inventarios reales...", in Archivo documental español, 1959, vol. XI, pp. 368-9.
5. k. Van Mander, Het Schilder-Boeck, Haarlem 1604, fol. 216v.