Gurt Swanenberg, Peccator (Sinner, Consumer), 2014

Het Noordbrabants Museum remains under the spell of Bosch and closes the year with Pieter Bruegel, Thé Tjong-Khing, Jan Fabre and Gurt Swanenberg

8 September 2016

Het Noordbrabants Museum will be bringing four generations of artists together whose work has been strongly influenced by Hieronymus Bosch. The exhibition will be showing the complete series and seldom seen prints of Pieter Bruegel of the seven deadly sins and the seven virtues, in combination with a contemporary interpretation of the deadly sins by Gurt Swanenberg. Thirty original drawings and preparatory sketches for the recently published children’s book inspired by Bosch by Thé Tjong-Khing will also be shown as well as the recently designed, enormous tapestry, The War Elephant (after Bosch) by Jan Fabre. The exhibition is the last in the series which Het Noordbrabants Museum organised in 2016 as part of the Jheronimus Bosch 500 National Event Year and it is a part of the Bosch Grand Tour.

The seven deadly sins: Pieter Bruegel versus Gurt Swanenberg

Pieter Bruegel the Elder (ca. 1526-1569), or the ‘second Bosch’, as he is sometimes called, was one of the first imitators of Hieronymus Bosch. The two series of the seven deadly sins and the seven deadly virtues are amongst Bruegel's most important creations. They were published by Hieronymus Cock in 1558 after a flourishing trade in Bosch’s paintings and prints in his style arose around the mid-16th century. In the famous series - after the painting The Seven Deadly Sins - Breugel created a world full of Boschian elements with hellish scenes, devils and monsters. The series of Bruegel prints are almost entirely from Het Noordbrabants Museum’s own collection and they were last seen by the public in 1979.

In this exhibition, Bruegel’s prints will confront a contemporary series of deadly sins by the artist, Gurt Swanenberg (’s-Hertogenbosch, 1976). Swanenberg paints minutely logos, brand names, hazard pictograms and even money with a fine brush on skulls, skeletons and bottles. The complete series, largely privately owned and therefore little known, will be brought together for the first time. The apotheosis of ten years as an artist.

Drawings by Thé Tjong-Khing

The illustrator, Thé Tjong-Khing (Purworedjo, 1933) also immersed himself in Bosch’s world. The original drawings from his children’s book Hieronymus. An adventure in the world of Hieronymus Bosch, which he created for the 500th anniversary in 2016 of Hieronymus Bosch’ death. The main character, Jeroen, has an answer for every threat and is afraid of nothing. The original drawings and some preparatory sketches, a total of 30 works, will be on show in Het Noordbrabants Museum.

New version of lost tapestry by Jan Fabre after Bosch

Between 1530 and 1540, a special series of five tapestry copies were made in Brussels of paintings by Hieronymus Bosch. Four of the tapestries are now in El Escorial in Spain. The fifth, The War Elephant, has been lost in the intervening time. The composition is known from the print of the same name from ca. 1550 by Hieronymus Cock which is in the collection of Het Noordbrabants Museum. The Belgian artist, Jan Fabre (Antwerp, 1958), was commissioned by Het Noordbrabants Museum to create a contemporary interpretation of Bosch’s design. The enormous tapestry (3 x 3.5 m) is now being produced by a contemporary method by the TextielMuseum’s TextielLab after months of preparation. The tapestry will be shown for the first time in the exhibition, along with Hieronymus Cock’s print and a ‘the making of’ film by Roel van Tour.

Bosch Grand Tour

The exhibition is part of the Bosch Grand Tour in which seven prominent Brabantine museums present a contemporary exhibition programme related to Hieronymus Bosch. For more information, see:

See also: