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Say, I’d have a doctor look at that


I don’t if you guys were aware, but last year they had an effing huge Hieronymus Bosch exhibition in the Netherlands, in his hometown, to mark the 500th year since his death. Unprecedented, once in a lifetime thing — they pulled together the largest collection of Bosch paintings ever assembled (something like 18 of the 25 known paintings and 19 of the 20 surviving drawings).

I’m a huge fan, so I couldn’t miss this one. His hometown is a little off the beaten track, no direct train. So a bunch of us decided to club together, rent a people carrier (that’s a minivan to you and me) and drive over.

Annnnnnnnd…it sold out.

Then a friend called this week and told me a nearby cinema was doing some kind of film exposition of the show. And we went. And it was good. Not as good as seeing them in person, but giant digital closeups probably turned up things I would never have seen standing in front of them. Optimum would have been to do both, of course.

They do a lot of these things here – where they stream live performances or have special one-time-only presentations like this one beamed to rural movie theaters. Is this a thing in the States?

Don’t know if you can get the DVD over there, but it’s The Curious World of Hieronymus Bosch. And the same group has done others. Mucho recommendo.

I’ve never seen so many improbable things going into and coming out of butts in my life.


Comment from Bob B
Time: January 24, 2017, 12:25 am

When I saw that picture, I immediately recalled a Youtube video that I saw many _years_ ago. It took me a few minutes to find it. Frontier Psychiatrist by the Avalanches. You’ve been warned.

Comment from Mrs Compton
Time: January 24, 2017, 12:33 am

It will be available in the states in Feb, you can preorder it on Amazon.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: January 24, 2017, 12:49 am

What is the theory on why Bosch painted what he painted? I mean I don’t think either absinthe nor tequila were readily available in those days, let alone shrooms.

Comment from The Neon Madman
Time: January 24, 2017, 12:56 am

Yeah, Bosch did some seriously weird stuff. If it was today, the first thing I would think is that he did some unreal acid trips.

Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: January 24, 2017, 2:10 am

I blame Global Warming…

Comment from Anonymous
Time: January 24, 2017, 2:49 am

“Is this a thing in the States?”

The Metropolitan Opera does live-stream HD presentations of its performances in movie theaters around the country; they claim 2,000 venues around the world.

Comment from tomfrompv
Time: January 24, 2017, 5:56 am

Can you drive from SE England to Holland, see an exhibition, and drive home in 1 day? From watching Brit TV, isn’t the chunnel a 2 hour mess, followed by the Jungle, followed by obnoxious Frenchmen asking fot papers, etc etc.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 24, 2017, 8:34 am

I don’t know, Tom. Believe it or don’t, I’ve never been to the Continent.

I think they fudged that bit, Some Veg. We know next to nothing about Bosch’s life. He comes from a family of painters. He made a good, high-status marriage. He lived in an expensive home and was a member of a prestigious religious society.

They used that to paint a picture of someone rather conventional, but it’s pretty clear to me the man had something seriously psychotic going on. Nobody before or since has come close to that crazy imagery.

Well, maybe Dadd *knowing look*

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: January 24, 2017, 10:39 am

I’ve been following Damien Kempf for years now. He has posted many of the Bosch images on his twitter feed among others. Was Bosch seriously weird? I dont think so. This art form was present from the middle ages onward. Bosch gave it a Renaissance style but the idea of weird images had been around for quite awhile.


Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: January 24, 2017, 1:21 pm

He probably liked sandwiches. The rye used to make the flour was commonly infected with ergot, a fungus with hallucinogenic properties. Joan of Arc’s visions are believed to have been ergot induced. She was just a blonde kid, who liked her ham and cheese sandwiches on artisanal rye.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 24, 2017, 7:35 pm

If you’ve never read it, Scott, I *highly* recommend The Day of St Anthony’s Fire. It’s about a little French town that got ergot poisoning en masse from their baker, some time in the 1950s. Only, they didn’t know that. They just knew half the town went mad one day.

First half is riveting. But because it’s set in France, the second half is about how they tried to get benefits off an indifferent bureaucracy for the rest of their lives.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: January 24, 2017, 9:08 pm

“I blame global warming”
Good guess, and very close.
It was actually Brexit.

I looked Brexit up, to make sure I was spellin it right, and it’s a ‘portmanteau’ of the words Britain and Exit.
Now here I thought a portmanteau was something John Bull carried his clothes in when he traveled (it is, or, was).


Ya comes here and learns things, crazy things usually.
So Bosch AND more English borrowed words, cool!
This place is awesome.

Comment from tomfrompv
Time: January 25, 2017, 2:25 am

I’m wondering how many Brits have never been thru the Chunnel. Our Weasel is one and I’m gob-smacked as this whole blog is so wise and educational. Or maybe thats WHY the blog is so wise.

Anyway, I had always thought Brits would jump in their autos and drive on over on the long weekender. Like going to Vegas or Branson or some zoo in a nearby city.

If this isn’t so, whats all the deal about EU if nobody goes visiting?

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: January 25, 2017, 5:51 pm

My dishwasher is a Bosch. It’s amazingly silent, but disturbingly mundane.

Oh, different guy? Never mind then.

As for ergot, I believe that it has been used to treat migraines, and as an abortifacient.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 25, 2017, 8:09 pm

Yeah, Tom, we’re kind of unusual. Most of our circle go to the Continent regularly. We just don’t hugely like travel, and Uncle B is terribly busy these days.

One of our sheep farmer neighbors goes over regularly to stock up on cheap wine.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: January 25, 2017, 11:18 pm

Am getting St. Anthony’s Fire from Amazon. Weasel recommendations are good enough for me!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 26, 2017, 8:25 am


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