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Yang asked

I've heard that this work was once exterior panels for a triptych with wings known as 'Ship of Fools' and 'Death and Miser' in the past. Is it an official conclusion of scientific analysis?

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

Dear Yang, yes this is true. We know that the inside of the left panel showed the now seperated 'Ship of Fools' (Louvre, Paris) and 'Allegory of Intemperance' (Yale University), and the inside of the right panel showed 'Death and the Miser' (National Gallery of Art, Washington). On the back of these panels 'The Pedlar' was shown. What was depicted on the center panel is unknown but it is highly likely that this panel had a religious theme. Best, Rianne Schoonderbeek

Jane asked

What does the skinned cat hanging on the wicker basket mean?

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

Hi Jane, thanks for your question! As with all the objects in this painting, we suspect certain symbolic meanings, but we can never be completely sure. The skinned cat could stand for women of easy virtue (the man being the cat hunter / womanizer) but pedlars are also known to sell cat skins, so it could also simply be attributed to the main subject being a pedlar. Best, Rianne


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What do you see?
De Marskramer
The Contemporary Pedlar
Jheronimus Bosch - The Pedlar Close Up
Bollock dagger
Spinning top
Bird basket

This vagabond or pedlar with mismatched shoes is symbolic of man on his path through life. He is a kind of 'Everyman' a popular late 15th century moral tale. He represents the 'homo viator', the pilgrim who goes through life weighed down by the baggage of his earthly existence. He suffers his lot along a path full of temptations.


Title The Pedlar
Material and technique Oil on panel
Object type Painting
Location This object is travelling
Dimensions (general) Height : 71 cm
Length : 70,6 cm
Makers Painter: Jheronimus Bosch
Accession number 1079 (OK)
Credits Verworven met steun van / Acquired with the support of: Vereniging Rembrandt, D.G. van Beuningen, F.W. Koenigs en/and J.P. van der Schilden 1931
Department Old Masters
Acquisition date 1931
Age maker Between 45 and 60 years old
Exhibitions The Collection Enriched (2011)
De ontdekking van het dagelijks leven - van Bosch tot Bruegel (2015)
Van Eyck tot Bruegel (1994)
External exhibitions Collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen – Bruegel’s ‘The Tower of Babel’ and Great 16th Century Masters (2017)
Jheronimus Bosch – Visioenen van een genie (2016)
Research Alma
Material Panel > Worked wood > Wood > Vegetable material > Organic material > Material > Material and technique
Oil > Paint > Artist's material > Material > Material and technique
Object Painting > Painting > Two-dimensional object > Art object
Geographical origin Northern Netherlands > The Netherlands > Western Europe > Europe

All about the maker

Jheronimus Bosch

Den Bosch circa 1450 - Den Bosch 1516

Jeroen Bosch was probably born around 1450 in Den Bosch as Jheronimus van Aken. When his fame as artist had spread throughout Europe, he adopted the name of the..