Hieronymus Bosch’s work, The Haywain Triptych – a work considered to be an important Dutch masterpiece – is returning to the Netherlands this Autumn for two major exhibitions. The event marks the first time the ppaintings sets foot on Dutch soil in 450 years. Spain’s King Philip II was an avid collector of the artist, and acquired the three panel painting for his private collection in 1570.
The work is currently in the possession of the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, founded in the nineteenth century to showcase works of art belonging to the crown. But now the triptych will be transferred to the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, where Bosch’s masterpiece will be among the genre paintings providing a glimpse of everyday life in the 16th century. Following this event the Het Noordbrabants Museum in s-Hertogenbosch, Bosch’s birthplace, will present 20 paintings and 19 drawings by the artist, including the triptych, in 2016, in what is being billed as the largest retrospective ever dedicated to the artist.
The exhibition will take place in time for the 500th anniversary of Bosch’s death in 1516. In a statement to the press, the Museum Boijmans called the artist’s masterpiece “one of the first paintings in art history to depict everyday scenes,” with a large number of figures in the central panel engaged in a litany of sinful activities. Bosch’s signature figures lend the work a sinister, nightmarish quality, as they cavort in a multitude of horrors.
Bosch’s left panel shows the origins of sin, with the fall of the angels and of Adam and Eve, while the final right-hand panel of the triptych depicts the ultimate reward for one’s sins: fiery Hell and damnation. Although the work is merely a loan, four paintings, two of which are by Bosch: most importantly including the artist’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, may soon leave the Prado for good.
Upon the opening of the Spanish Royal Collection’s new museum next year, the institution hopes reclaim a quartet of Bosch, Rogier van der Wyden, and Tintoretto paintings that have been resident at the Prado since the tumult of the Spanish Civil War.