The Secret Heresy of Hieronymus Bosch

Lynda Harris, author of The Secret Heresy of Hieronymus Bosch (first published 1985, reprinted 2002) is one of the many authors attracted by the enigma of Bosch’ paintings and interested in exploring possible influences: “Behind their appearance of orthodoxy, they portray the doctrines and attitudes of Catharism”, as the blurb claims. The author believes that Bosch’s ancestors may have been “Cathar refugees, people who fled to a place where they hoped they would be safe”: ‘s-Hertogenbosch. According to Harris, Cathar heretics were known to have lived in the areas along the Rhine, not far from Brabant. These Cathar forebears would have passed on their religious convictions to their descendants, and Bosch was to have reflected Cathar convictions in his art.

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