The Many Deceptions of Master Bosch


I feel happy and honored because my analysis of the relationship between the juggler and the thief in Bosch’s famous painting “The Juggler” has just been published in Marco Pusterla‘s fine journal, Ye Olde Magic Mag! If you are not a subscriber yet, but interested in the field of magic history and collecting, you should check it out; also, if you are just curious to find out why I believe that the juggler and the thief are actually brothers in deceit! The magazine is published quarterly, both in print and digital, and Marco does a great job in researching and compiling scholarly articles, reviews of books and magic auctions, and other interesting bits.

To warm you up for the many layers of trickery in Bosch’s masterpiece, here’s a little game of seek and find:
Can you spot at least 15 mistakes in my manipulated mock version of the original?





Look closely – and don’t take anything for granted! (Just like in real life.) I will post the solution here in a couple of days, so please call again. Have fun!


Click here and scroll down to the end of that page to see the solution! How did you do???


Exploring Bosch’s “Juggler” further

I’m certainly neither an art historian in general nor an expert on Bosch‘s painting “The Juggler”; yet, the fabulous Bosch Project I mentioned here recently and which you can find online here, has triggered some fun detective work on my side of the screen.


When we look at the famous painting, we could argue that the cutpurse on the left is simply taking random advantage of the juggler’s momentary action on the right. However, it could also be the case that the two main characters are partners in crime: The juggler provides the misdirection while the thief cuts up jackpots.

Some evidence for the latter version:

  1. These two eerie fellows stand juxtaposed to each other, thus framing the painting on the left and on the right, which may indicate a relation.
  2. They seem to be of very similar height (excluding the juggler’s top hat).
  3. By playing around with enlarged snippets of the painting, twisting and mirroring them, I came to realize that both men’s noses and faces in profile are very similar to each other, which could indicate that they are, in fact, brothers, both in life and in crime!

Have a look below: The size, crooked shape and nostrils of both noses are very similar. Also, both noses and half faces can be interchanged without much ado or any image manipulation:

Bosch Noses and Faces

More discoveries to come!