Kansas City museum's painting attributed to Hieronymus Bosch

Temptation of St Anthony in the Nelson-Atkins Museum was believed to be by a pupil of the great Dutch artist


A newly attributed painting by Hieronymus Bosch has been identified in America, at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. The Temptation of St Anthony, previously assumed to be by a pupil or follower, is now dated to 1500-10.

The St Anthony panel had been acquired by the museum in 1935 and subjected to an unfortunate restoration in the 1960s-70s. A spokesperson for the Bosch Research and Conservation Project says that the image was “heavily retouched and overpainted”, disguising the artist’s work. The project has undertaken research for a major exhibition, which opens in Den Bosch next week. With Bosch’s paintings numbering around 25 works, this latest discovery represents a significant addition to the oeuvre.

Infrared investigations revealed underdrawings, which match those on Bosch’s accepted works. A fairly thick brush and diluted medium were used, and the artist continued to adjust the image, working the wet paint. This is particularly evident in the flying fish at the bottom of the picture.

The surviving painting (39 x 25 cm) was cut down at some stage and would originally have been part of a larger scene of the temptations of St Anthony, who was threatened by bizarre creatures. Originally it was probably a wing of a now-lost triptych. The panel has long been in store, but it is now going on loan to the exhibition Hieronymus Bosch: Visions of a Genius at the Noordbrabants Museum in Den Bosch (13 February-8 May).