Thursday, January 31, 2008

Harry Bosch's namesake, or, no wonder he goes by Harry

How does The Overlook's fictional tough-guy detective get a first name like Hieronymus (Harry's real name)? Why, his murdered prostitute mother named him after a fifteenth-century painter, of course. It's enough to make a mystery fan wonder just who the real Hieronymus Bosch is.

Hieronymus Bosch the painter (self-portrait at right) was born Jerome van Aken in Hertogenbosch, Holland, in 1450. His father and grandfather were both painters, and it's believed that the young man changed his name to avoid confusion with these other family members. Hieronymus is the latinized version of Jerome (who knew!) and the painter took his last name from his hometown. Bosch's paintings feature surrealistic, distorted figures illustrating complex subjects.

It's not surprising that Michael Connelly's detective Harry Bosch would somethow be connected to a painter whose works show the "fateful consequences of human folly." Sounds like a day in the life of an L.A.P.D. homicide detective.


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