(b. ca. 1450, 's-Hertogenbosch, d. 1516, 's-Hertogenbosch)
Triptych of the Martyrdom of St Liberata1500-04
Oil on panel, 104 x 119 cm
Palazzo Ducale, Venice
In his pictures of the saints, Bosch seldom depicted those miraculous exploits and spectacular martyrdoms which so fascinated the later Middle Ages. The early triptych of the Crucifixion of St Liberata (Virgo fortis) is an exception. It has been proposed that Bosch painted this picture during a trip to northern Italy, but it is more likely that it was commissioned by Italian merchants or diplomats residing in the Netherlands. Earlier it was thought that the central panel represents the martyrdom of St Julia, a saint from Corsica. The attribution to Bosch of the side panels, representing St Anthony in Meditation, and Two Slave dealers, is debated.