David Bickerstaff (director)
Seventh Art Productions (studio)
03 November 2016 (released)
27 October 2016
Seventh Art Productions has returned to give viewers and art lovers a new season of Exhibition on Screen. We followed the entire series last year and we are glad to see it open again in cinemas worldwide on November 3rd with the dreamy and astounding The Curious World of Hyeronymus Bosch. The film, directed by David Bickerstaff, gives viewers a once in a lifetime chance to see the exhibition that brought the artist’s masterpieces to his hometown from museums all over the world.
The exhibition, Hieronymus Bosch – Visions of Genius, was held at the Het Noordbrabants Museum (3 February - 8 May 2016) and it was Bosch’s largest retrospective bringing bringing 36 of his 44 surviving works together in Den Bosch. What is interesting about the exhibition is that it took a radical approach in order to borrow the paintings from the world’s most prestigious museums. The museum offered research and conservation expertise in exchange for the loans.
My first approach to Bosch’s work was in high school when I was researching painters that could embody the concept of grotesque for my final project. That’s when I first saw the Garden of Earthly Delights, a work so rich in iconography, surreal and grotesque images that it still strikes today thinking that it was painted between 1495 and 1505.
The documentary tries to answer the question about Bosch’s identity and personality, which has always remained a mystery. We discover the artist’s background, his religious devotion, but also his ability to talk to the people of his time through painting. One of this greatest achievements was surely his original and peculiar vision, through which he brought past and present together and managed to give psychological insight to everyday life.
A particularly delightful detail in the documentary is the use of camera movements and close-ups to suggest the evocation of different senses, be it sight, sound and even touch, that was at the core of Bosch’s work. An evocation that passes on to the viewer by uniting, once again, two splendid media and reminding us that Bosch was, ultimately, a fearless painter, curious about art and human beings in his every brush stroke.