Five-hundred years after the death of the Dutch master Hieronymus Bosch, documentarian Pieter van Huystee searches out twenty-five surviving paintings and the work of archivists to attribute the work to the master of nightmares. When the Noordbrabants Museum in Den Bosch, Netherlands, where the artist lived his entire life, decided to devote an exhibition to Bosch’s work, Dutch historians set out to decipher and determine as much about his work as possible, not limited to infrared inspections of the sketches beneath the immensely-peopled work, bursting with demons and monsters and slavering sinners. “Hieronymus Bosch: Touched By The Devil” is often less than compelling, lumbering even, in its depiction of inter-museum intrigues. But! In the small details, the huge determination, the teeming world of the canvases, the machinations of “CSI: Den Bosch” melt away, all the tidy journalism is immaterial, the up-close examination of this fantastic art transfixes. 89m. (Ray Pride)
“Hieronymus Bosch: Touched By The Devil” opens Friday, October 7 at Siskel.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published later this year.