Medieval building in Hieronymus Bosch's home town collapses

Façade was meant to feature in quincentenary lightshow, but event organisers are adamant that show will go on

by Emily Sharpe  |  14 March 2016
Medieval building in Hieronymus Bosch's home town collapses
Two Medieval buildings collapsed in Hieronymus Bosch's home town of Den Bosch on 27 February
A Medieval building that was supposed to serve as the canvas for Bosch by Night, a lightshow commissioned as part of the year-long celebrations to mark the quincentenary of Hieronymus Bosch’s death, collapsed on 27 February—days before the project’s launch in the artist’s hometown of Den Bosch in The Netherlands.

But the show will go on, say the artists involved and the Jheronimus Bosch 500 Foundation, the event’s organisers. The artists, working in conjunction with the foundation and the city, aim to launch the project in April. “We will find a way to make it happen,” vowed Ad ’s-Gravesande, the head of the foundation, at a recent event in Den Bosch.

The corner property was undergoing renovation work that was not associated with the project at the time of the collapse. Adjacent to the ruined building on the city’s main market square is Bosch’s original studio, now a souvenir shop called “De Kleine Winst”, which luckily still stands. The lightshow, which is inspired by the life and work of Bosch, and features a specially commissioned score and creatures taken from the artist’s oeuvre, was designed by the Dutch projection art studio Mr.Beam. It was to be projected across several buildings, including Bosch’s studio. The artists are now looking at the possibility of replacing the destroyed façade with a temporary one or a screen.    

A rendering of the Bosch by Night light show in Den Bosch’s market square. Photo: Urbi et Orbi

The artist Mo Assem from Mr.Beam, who had worked on the project for six months, described the collapse as “devastating”, saying it “was like seeing your baby lose an arm or a leg”. His technical team were at the square preparing to install hardware on the night of the collapse. “It happened about 30 minutes after the [builders] left the building. An hour later and our tech team would have been installing sound within the buildings,” he said. No one was injured as a result of the collapse.

The day after the destruction there was a run on statues of the Virgin Mary on sale at De Kleine Winst. “Remarkably none were damaged in the collapse. It was a miracle, so the [shopkeeper] decided to offer them for 50% off,” Assem said. They sold out.

With additional reporting by Melanie Gerlis

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