It seems like I have all the time in the world and none at all.
Simple tasks take me a ridiculous amount of time and wear me out, and with low concentration I often make stupid mistakes that mean things need to be done again.
I’m a “doer” in character so find the days where I just don’t get anything done a total frustration, but I also realise that if I’m taking extra pain relief that causes drowsiness to get on top of pain that refuses to subside, that staying awake is a near impossibility and I would drop where I stood if I didn’t go lay down.
I’ve fallen asleep countless times on the sofa whilst trying to do a simple sitting down task, I’ve also napped in waiting rooms and a few times even whilst seated on the loo!
It took me weeks to write my Christmas newsletter and even longer to put labels on envelopes and send them. It’s the first time ever that I’ve been so behind that I sent them in the first week of the New Year! I’m hoping that recipients will forgive me and say “better late than never”. Himself went out for stamps and because the postal shop didn’t have enough of the denomination for International postage, got a lower denomination that I could use two of instead. Having studied Art History and Practical Art I was delighted to see that the stamps he bought home were in celebration of the 500th Anniversary of The Dutch artist known as Jheronimus Bosch.
Wikipedia (links below) tells us: “Hieronymus Bosch was born Jheronimus (or Joen,respectively the Latin and Middle Dutch form of the name “Jerome”) van Aken (meaning “from Aachen”). He signed a number of his paintings as Jheronimus Bosch. The name derives from his birthplace, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, which is commonly called “Den Bosch” (‘the forest’).
Little is known of Bosch’s life or training. Bosch’s date of birth has not been determined with certainty but is estimated at c. 1450 on the basis of a hand drawn portrait (which may be a self-portrait) made shortly before his death in 1516. The drawing shows the artist at an advanced age, probably in his late sixties.
Bosch was born and lived all his life in and near ‘s-Hertogenbosch, a city in the Duchy of Brabant. His grandfather, Jan van Aken (died 1454), was a painter and is first mentioned in records in 1430. It is known that Jan had five sons, four of whom were also painters. In 1463, 4,000 houses in the town were destroyed by a catastrophic fire, which the then (approximately) 13-year-old Bosch presumably witnessed. He became a popular painter in his lifetime and often received commissions from abroad. In 1488 he joined the highly respected Brotherhood of Our Lady, an arch-conservative religious group of some 40 influential citizens of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, and 7,000 ‘outer-members’ from around Europe.
Sometime between 1479 and 1481, Bosch married Aleyt Goyaerts van den Meerveen. The couple moved to the nearby town of Oirschot, into an inherited house and land from her wealthy family. An entry in the accounts of the Brotherhood of Our Lady, records Bosch’s death in 1516.
Bosch produced at least sixteen triptychs, of which eight are fully intact, and another five in fragments. His most famous triptych is the “The Garden of Earthly Delights”. These stamps however, depict not his most famous painting but another famous triptych, a part of the central secton of “The Haywain Triptych“.
Much debate goes on between scholars when interpreting the meaning behind Bosch’s works, some using modern day interpretations and others arguing for interpretations that would have been relevant and imagery known in Bosch’s time.
I have used some of these stamps on my Christmas correspondence, and included the text that went with each one… of course no single letter had the complete set of stamps and only my Father was in the International posting pile who reads Dutch, so I have done my best to translate each of the texts here below (with the corresponding Dutch so that people will see which piece they have and how the stamps fit together with one another).
What is undisputed is that Bosch was very concerned with the issues of morality: greed, corruption and the worthlessness of earthly wealth… Let’s see what the Stamp texts tell us and try and draw our own conclusions:
” 500 JAAR JHERONIMUS BOSCH.
Heel 2016 wordt herdacht dat de geniale schilder in 1516 stierf te ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Zijn fantasie en vebeeldingkracht zijn evolutionair en inspirerend tot in onze tijd.
“De Hooiwagen” schilderde hij tegen het eind van zijn leven. Dit drieluik is onderdeel van de tentoonstelling Jheronimus Bosch – Visioenen van en genie in Het Noordbrabants Museum, hoogepunt in het herdenkingjaar.”
500 YEARS Hieronymus Bosch.
Throughout 2016 we commemorate the genius painter who died in 1516 in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. His fantasy and imagination are evolutionary and inspiring even in our time. “The Haywain Triptych” was painted by him towards the end of his life. This triptych is part of the exhibition Hieronymus Bosch – Visions of genius and located in the Noordbrabants Museum, is a high point in his commemorative year.
“Bosch schildert een menigte mensen die waardeloos hooi najagen. Een kreupele pelgrim heeft het al te paaken. Zijn vrouw bidt dat goed zal aflopen voor hen en hun kind.”
Bosch depicts a crowd of people chasing worthless hay that has no value. A crippled pilgrim has already grabbed some hay. His wife prays that all will end well for them and their child.
“Iedereen probeert wat hooi te bemachtigen terwijl de wagen verder rijdt. Bosch laat zien dat hebzucht mensen agressief maakt en dat kan zelfs tot moord en doodslag leiden.”
Everyone is trying to get some hay while the wagon drives away. Bosch shows that greed makes people aggressive and can even lead to murder and manslaughter..
“Uit Jheronimus Bosch kritiek op de Kerk? Twee monniken zijn met mannen en vrouwen rond de hooiwagen slaags geraakt. Ook zij wilden zoveel mogelijk hooi te pakken krijgen.”
Was Hieronymus Bosch being critical of the Church? Two monks clash with men and women around the hay wagon. They too wanted to get as much hay as possible for themselves.
“Nauwkeurig schildert Bosch het spaakwiel van de zwaarbeladen hooiwagen. Zelfs de nagels waarmee het wiel is beslagen zijn weergegeven. Het loopt slecht af als je door die wagen wordt overreden.”
Bosch paints with great accuracy the spoked wheel of the heavily laden hay wagon. Even the nails with which the wheels are attached are displayed in detail. It would be a terrible fate to get run over by that hay wagon. (maybe this is an annology about the perils of greed?)
“Bosch op zijn best: onbestaanbare gedrochten schildert hij om het kwaad in de wereld weer te geven. Deze bende trekt de hooiwagen voort, regelrecht richting hel.”
Bosch at his best: Again with his non-existent monsters he depicts the evil in the world. This gang pulls the hay wagon on, straight to hell.
“Een vermoeide pelgrim en een kind als miniatuurbedevaartganger. De moeder met een kind aan haar rokken merkt hen niet op. Wat moeten ze daar, op weg waarheen?”
A weary pilgrim and a child depicted as a miniature pilgrim. Mother has a child clinging to her skirts but does not notice them. Why are they here and where are they going?
“Een zwijnskop aan het spit, een ander varkentje wacht op zijn beurt. De Vrowen op de voorgrond weten van niets, maar het vuur dat Jheronimus Bosch schildert, is venijnig heet.”
A boar’s head roasts on a spit, another pig stands awaiting for his turn. The women in the foreground don’t know ir, but the fire that Hieronymus Bosch has painted, is viciously hot.
“De vrouw moet wanhopig zijn van de pijn. Het halssnoer met getrokken tanden dat de kwakzalver om heeft gehangen, werkt net zo weinig vertrouwen als zijn met hooi gevulde beurs.”
The woman must be desperate pain. The necklace with extracted teeth that quack has hung around her neck, works with just as much confidence as his purse filled with hay.
“Het snerpend geluid van de doedelzakspeler lokt zelfs een kloosterzuster. Is die worst te koop voor een handvol hooi? Bosch is altijd dubbelzinning.”
The grinding sound of the bagpipe player even lures a nun. Is this sausage on sale for a handful of hay? Bosch is always ambiguous.
“Bosch laat zien dat ook paters en nonnen gehecht zijn aan aardse goederen. De baal met hooi is al mooi gevuld, de beker drank zo goed als leeg.”
Bosch shows that even priests and nuns are attached to earthly goods. The bale of hay is already pretty well filled up and the drink in the cup is as good as empty.
The round central stickers say:
500 Jaar Jheronimus Bosch ,2016, Nederland (500 Years of Jheronimus Bosch, 2016, The Netherlands).
Wikipedia: “The Haywain Triptych” (Dutch language).
Wikipedia: Jheronimus Bosch (English language).