“Anything, but a load of old Bosch!”

 Hieronymous Bosch garden of earthly delightsI guess when people refer to something as ‘a load of old Bosch,‘ I hope they aren’t referring to the great artist Hieronymous Bosch. Bosch died some 497 years ago on the 9th August 1516, having been born ca. 1450. He is also known as Hieronymus van Aken (Aachen); after the city from which his family originated. Apparently, both his father and grandfather were  both painters.

His most famous work “The Garden of Earthly Delights”, was painted roughly between 1490-1500. This triptych looks so modern and extraordinarily fresh today, that it beggars belief to think that this masterpiece was painted nearly 500 years  ago. What fascinates me most, is the fact that the depictions have not dated.

Since 1939,“The Garden of Earthly Delights”  has resided in the Museo del Prado, in Madrid. The triptych is painted in oil on oak and is formed from a square middle panel flanked by two further oak rectangular wings that close over the center as shutters. The outer wings, when folded, show a grisaille painting of the Earth during the Biblical narrative of Creation. The three scenes of the inner triptych depict (from left to right):

  • God presenting Eve to Adam;
  • a broad panorama of socially engaged nude figures, fantastical animals, over sized fruit and hybrid stone formations; and a
  • Hell-scape portraying the torments of Hell and damnation.

A load of old Bosch? – I don’t think so.

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