Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Syncretic Artistry of Johfra Bosschart
Detail from Pillar by Johfra Bosschart

I have discovered a new occult artist, Johfra Bosschart, whose artwork is visually stunning and one of the best examples of Syncretism in a visual medium I have ever seen. Franciscus Johannes Gijsbertus van den Berg, was born December 15, 1919. At the age of 14 he begins a course in still life drawing at the Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague. He had his first exhibition in 1943, and in 1945 bombing during WWII destroys his home and most of his work. Undaunted he sees this as a "Great Liberation" that frees him to move forward without failures and shortcomings of his earlier work haunting him. In 1945 he changes his name to JOHFRA; FRA from FRAncisus, and JOH from JOHannes but in reverse order.  In 1946 he begins a friendship with a surrealist painter named Diana Vandenberg, they marry in 1952. They both join the Rosicrucians in 1953. In 1962 he leaves Diana and the Rosicrucians. In 1973 he begins the Zodiac series which is by far his most famous work. Some examples are here:
Sagittarus by Johfra Bosschart
Libra by Johfra Bosschart
Taurus by Johfra Bosschart

There many more fine examples of his work, I find the density and layers of meaning illustrated in his paintings awe-inspiring. I feel as if my personal belief path has been illustrated, by an Dutch Artist while I was but a child. This discovery is most serendipitous, and is a treasure beyond words. I shall spend many hours using Johfra art as a meditative aid and spiritual guidebook. Even though you passed on to the otherworld in 1998, I am still thankful for your gift.
The Vision of Hermes Trismegistus by Johfra Bosschart 


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  2. It is wonderful that Johfra's work continues to inspire so many people and that more and more people are discovering him...
    I had the tremendous privilege of meeting him and Ellen in London during the 1970s when I was a visionary artist absorbed in Rosicrucianism and symbolism. After visiting my studio and seeing my work, Johfra and Ellen invited me to spend a week with them in Aspremont, up in the hills overlooking Nice. It was a life changing experience.
    Ultimately, I realised I could never come anywhere close to their level of technical prowess which I felt to be essential in order to convey what I wanted to communicate. Also, I could spend as much as six months on a single painting and this was becoming immensely frustrating because my head was so full of images, allegories and archetypes, all of them demanding to be given form.
    I therefore turned (or rather re-turned) to writing, and in 1974 completed a substantial work called "Zandernatis" recounting one of the greatest epochs in the history of an ancient civilisation which flourished in pre-glacial Antarctica long, long before any other existed on Earth. This story was based on writings found under the Antarctic ice in 1962 and it contained all the many, many paintings I would never have had the time - or the technique - to complete.
    Forty years later, I decided to rework this book, dedicating it to Johfra and Ellen and with it, creating a new genre: the "meta-realist allegory". The seeds of this concept were already present in the 1974 version, but with a lifetime of experience behind me in many different fields, I felt myself ready to take this much further.
    To date, the first volume of "Zandernatis - Where Legends Were Born" (a trilogy) has been published. You might be interested in consulting my blog at where the "meta-realist allegory" is explained in greater detail. Furthermore, there are also insights into some of the "corroborative material" which is presented to "prove" that the writings found in Antarctica were in fact a record of actual events which subsequently became the source of our universal legendary heritage...
    I hope Johfra and Ellen would approve...

  3. Gordon, I just saw your comment. I will indeed check out the links you mentioned and will also seek your book. First saw Johfra work as a kid in the late seventies at bookshops my Mom would go to, she was looking for Steven King, but I always wanted something a little different. Thanks for the heads up.

    Keep Up the Great Work,
    Pax, Lux, Armor,
    William Jones

    1. Hello William,
      This is Gordon Keirle-Smith,,I just saw your comment (It's taken me some time!). But since then some interesting things have been happening. Most importantly, I have been in contact with Ellen who has read the first volume of Zandernatis and is very enthusiastic about it.Also it was "found" by Penny Kelly, a wonderfully enlightened writer and teacher who likes the work so much that she has written an inspiring preface to Volume Two which should be published this month.
      Take a look on
      With Blessings from Paradise,

    2. Update
      At the beginning of the month my wife and I travelled to the Dordogne to visit Ellen (now 91) who is still living in the Mill she shared with Johfra until he took the "journey home" in 1998.
      For her and a few of her friends, I gave a comprehensive presentation of the entire Zandernatis "Trinity". A rare privilege to be able to do that in the place where they worked for so long...
      The books can be found on Amazon here: