Friday, April 28, 2006

(15) Saint Jerome and astrologers' glyphs

But the glyph for Libra looks more like a hat than a balance. The painting seems to be not so much an illustration of the constellations as it is an illustration of how to recognize the signs astrologers use to represent Leo and Libra in a horoscope.
If the painting of St. Jerome in Ghent is really by Hieronymus Bosch, as all the modern literature on Bosch agrees, then it demonstrates that Bosch was incorporating astrological signs in a realistic looking picture almost in the same way that later artists included New World hieroglyphs in European-style paintings. The problem is that it is difficult to be sure whether a "Bosch" painting is really the work of Hieronymus Bosch or whether it is an imitation, even when dendrochronological analysis can prove that the wood on which it is painted is old.


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