Bosch at a Belgian Beer Fest, 2015

In the midst of a close-packed crowd in Leuwen, Belgium, I suddenly appreciated Hieronymus Bosch.

It was a festival crowd of people ranging from cheerful to roaring drunk.The overall ambience was festive, but with a kind of rambunctious undercurrent.  I saw babes and businessmen, gawking tourists and smiling homebodies, biker badasses and larking students, all holding beer, smoking, shouting greetings or smut.

So I thought of Bosch, who knew that all crowds, even at the most sacred event, can look like this:


What is such a crowd? Improvised festivity, a swarm of loneliness, islands connected when the tides of labor recede.