Ask anything

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

Bettina Semoff asked

Hello, after my litterary researches (according to Stefan Fischer, who wrote in German a Monographie about Bosch, 2016) the middle panel was the 'marriage of kana' , also by H.Bosch. Could this be possible? Thanks, yours B.S., Munich-Germany

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

Dear Bettina, Indeed, some scholars believe that ‘the Pedlar’ was part of a larger whole that included ‘the Marriage of Kana’. This idea was first brought to the fore by Johannes Hartau in an article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in 2001. Hartau later expanded his argument in the article 'Das neue Triptychon von Hieronymus Bosch als Allegorie über den unnützen Reichtum', in Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 68 (2005), pp. 305-338. Our curator of old Paintings and Sculptures Friso Lammertse is, however, not convinced by this interpretation. ‘The Marriage of Kana’ painting that is referred to is not the painting with the same name in the collection of Boijmans van Beuningen, which is a copy executed after Bosch’ death, presumably after a lost original. Kind regards, Jephta

Mira asked

Hi there, is this painting also known as 'The Wayfarer'?

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

Hi Mia, Yes, it is! The painting has several titles, but 'The Pedlar' is the one currently used by Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Best wishes, Jephta


Thank you. Your question has been submitted.

Unfortunately something has gone wrong while sending your question. Please try again.


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 on view in room 32
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 Van Eyck tot Bruegel (1994)
The Collection Enriched (2011)
De ontdekking van het dagelijks leven - van Bosch tot Bruegel (2015)
De collectie als tijdmachine (2017)
BABEL - Oude meesters terug uit Japan / Old Masters Back from Japan (2018)
External exhibitions Jheronimus Bosch – Visioenen van een genie (2016)
Collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen – Bruegel’s ‘The Tower of Babel’ and Great 16th Century Masters (2017)
Research Alma
Material Oil > Paint > Artist's material > Material > Material and technique
Panel > Worked wood > Wood > Vegetable material > Organic 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..