I was minding my own business, reading the letters in the London Review of Books, when I saw this, from a response by Marta Uminska to an article about Hieronymus Bosch:
The triptych known to us as The Garden of Earthly Delights is first documented in 1517, one year after Bosch’s death, as being in the possession of Count Hendrik III of Nassau, in his palace in Brussels. Depending on the date of the triptych (scholarly opinion varies between roughly 1490 and 1505), it would have been commissioned either by Hendrik himself or by his uncle and predecessor Engelbert II: that is, by rich, erudite aristocrats from the inner circle of the Burgundian court, who collected works of art, read widely, held extravagant parties (in the same palace where the Garden hung there was also a bed large enough for fifty guests), and could afford to flirt with heretical or otherwise fringe ideas.
Emphasis mine. T.J. Clark would later write in to quibble with Uminska’s account of the triptych’s origin, which was all very interesting, but I couldn’t get past the bed for fifty people. Read More