Original painting by Hieronymus Bosch "The magician" not preserved, but the work extant in several copies, the most accurate of which you can see in the Municipal Museum of the Paris suburb of Saint-Germain-EN-Laye. Copy has a rectangular shape, but experts have little doubt that the original song was inscribed in a circle, i.e., had the form of a Tondo (from the ital. rotondo – round) like "Extracting the stone of stupidity" – another famous painting by Bosch. Circle, at its core, reminiscent of medieval convex mirror or lens: anything that gets in its limits, takes on distorted proportions and shapes, but it becomes very clear.
Traditionally, the "Magician" attributed to the early period of creativity of Bosch – between 1475 and 1480, he Believed that a few awkwardly written pieces and irregular perspective foreshortening (especially noticeable in the table) talking about the uncertainty of the hands of the novice master. Very primitive pattern, on the one hand, may indicate the author's inexperience. But, on the other hand, during the time of artistic maturity, Bosch often resorted to deliberate archaism and primitivism techniques, so the question of the Dating of the "Magician" remains open. Dendrochronological analysis of sen-ZHERMEN copy indicates that it was created in about 1502.
In the background chipped stone walls, the upper part of which is overgrown with grass, quack in a black top hat and red cloak is fooling the gullible public. The audience monolithic group is located at the other end of the table and stare with amazement as the magician removes the mouth of one of the onlookers, the frog. But the young man, embracing his companion, he notices something wrong and points it out with your finger: standing next to a man in robes pretending to be blind, put his hand in his pocket "absorber frogs" and trying to pull out a purse. This is probably an accomplice of the magician and all presentation designed to lull the public and take advantage of her trusting distraction.
The magician holds in his fingers a miniature ball on the table, are visible some balls and thimbles. Of attached to the belt of the magician baskets peeking owl's head – familiar to Bosch's allegory of evil and the wiles of the devil. Frogs (one sitting on the table, the other is seen in the mouth of a "victim" of the magician) is also considered as a symbol of evil. More difficult to interpret the symbolic significance of dogs (some believe it is a monkey) under the table and the stork, the absorber frogs, dark shape which is visible in the upper left corner.
Over someone scoffs Bosch?
Most often, the "Magician" is interpreted as a genre scene, a satire which is aimed at magicians scams, and even more on Razin gullible, ready to believe any clever rascal. Some experts have drawn Parallels between extraction of a frog magician and the Church's procedure of exorcism. In this approach, the painting "the Magician" takes on an anti-clerical sense, becomes a satire on the clergy, how much in vain deluding doverchivo flock. This idea is reinforced by the argument that the dress of a magician looks like a red cardinal's cassock, and the "uniform" his sidekick is reminiscent of the clothing of the monks, the Dominicans. Perhaps Bosch here denounces the sale of indulgences – forgiveness of sins for money.
A mysterious man in green
Specialists noticed that the character in the green hat and the same color coat (it is almost at the middle of the table and looks directly at the viewer) appears in other works by Bosch, for example, in "The crucified Martyr". I assume that it was written from someone from the real friends of the Bosch, but it is unlikely this man was a friend of the artist, since the paintings he's shown more in a negative way.