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Hieronymus Bosch. (1450-1516). The Garden of Earthly Delights. (1480-1490). Triptych. 








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Hieronymus Bosch. (1450-1516). The Garden of Earthly Delights. (1480-1490). Triptych. 

Jheronymus van Aken, called Hieronymus Bosch, is resulting from a family originating in Nimègue, installed with Wood-the-Duke (in Dutch, ertogenbosch): his father, Anthonius van Aken, were painter, like his grandfather, Jan van Aken. Jheronymus Bosch, his patronym, thus comes from the name of his birthplace. His wife since 1478, is Aleit Vanden Mervenne, a rich aristocrat and become member of the brotherhood of Notre-Dame, religious association and caritative dedicated to the veneration of the Virgin, he thus acquires his entries among the notable ones of Wood-the-Duke and sees the orders flowing. Its fame near the courses of Europe is immediate. First of all near the emperor Maximilien 1st, then his children Philippe the Beautiful and Marguerite of Austria, or Henri de Nassau, who are his more famous customers. The title of work the Garden of the delights is the current title, the original title was lost. No painting of the painter is dated. It was believed a long time that this triptych was a painting of maturity (after 1500) but makes of it the dating based on the study of the annual concentric rings of growth of the trees shows that it is about an early work (1480-90). Hieronymus is the contemporary of Martin Luther, (1483-1546), in the Netherlands and in Germany the ideas of the reform make their way.

Closed triptych. It is the Creation of the World, the ground is a half capped sphere of an ocular sphere. The life seems to come from the sky where the elements are unchained. On the left panel construction seems in hand, the right panel shows a world already completed. In top on the left, a character sat in one perforated of cloud, it holds a book. It is the creator. 2 sentences are registered in Gothic letters gilded at the top of each panel. The left shutter carries the inscriptions Ipse dixit and facta sunt, and the right shutter Ipse mandavit and creata sunt. These worms come from the psalms of Isaïe: “ Speaks to Him, this is. He order, this exists ”, which returns to the Genesis: “ God known as: How the light is ! And the light was ” (Genesis 1-3). One interprets the moment like the 3rd day of Creation, when a “ fertile mist ” fertilizes the mineral world and allows the emergence of the first plants. Or also moment when water of the flood is withdrawing itself. The ray of light is the rainbow symbolizing new alliance between God and the men, the promise which the Flood will not have any more place.

Open triptych.
One knows of Jerome Bosch of other triptychs. The Triptych of the Carriage of Hay (1500-02), 2 Triptychs of the Last Judgment (1504 - 1508) and a diptych : the Hell and the Paradise (1510). In each paintings there are a chronology and a direction of reading, there does not exist unit of time and space as for example in the triptych of Rubens the Erection of Cross (click to see the analysis) where the action is at the same place and the same moment. At Bosch the past is on the left the present at the center and the future on the right. The topic of the triptych is Safety (or damnation), the concerns are morals, spiritual and religious but the manner of the painter returns to fantastic so that its work the treat of the surrealist painters shoed.
The iconography of the time returns to the monsters, the disproportionate animals and scenes nightmarish and this at ends of warning. The great irony it is that what Bosch described to denounce it tightened used to be sublimated by other painters later 4 centuries. The 3 panels have a direction seen units but also a direction seen separately. Thus each left panel, centers and right is analyzed.

The point of view is the same one for each panel. The horizon is located at the same place.

Open triptych the rule of the thirds divides work into 9 different scenes, actually one counts some much more. Close to the natural points of interest the two turns at the top of central panel are which reflect the harmony, the culture, and balances it. The natural points of interest of bottom are located on scenes which evoke the carnal pleasures, the symbols are primarily sexual. On the central panel the top evokes the spirit, bottom the flesh.
The reading of work must be done from left to right. In the past the Paradise, the present the world and current life, in the future the hell. On each panel the action proceeds at the edge of various, Fountain of Youth water level, river or basin of the pleasures and river of the hell. Water is source of life is also source of the instinct and perversions.
The 3 panels are built on the ascending diagonals. On each panel the guiding lines of the various scenes separate to each other .

Details :
It acts here, with the paradise, of the moment when the creator introduces Eve to Adam.
In the foreground of the central panel a bunch of stripped characters, in dared postures, evoking an unrestrained sexuality, returns directly to the chaos of the hell.
The architecture of the turns to the background evokes the harmony of the paradise.

Here in the middle of tortures the notation symbolic of the male genitals. The phallus is a knife, the testicles the immense ears. This kind of representation occurs in the dreams, the unconscious one often associates penis and knife. This association is violent because with the clean direction a knife is not always used to make good. For the testicles in the shape of ear one suspects well that somebody listens and one guesses quickly who.

Light : 
The 3 panels are lit by a light coming from left. On the central panel and the panel of right-hand side, the hell, the various scenes are enlightened under different angles.
Colors : Opposition between cold colors and hot colors.
Harmonize and Contrasts. 
The carryforward of the colors used to the painting on the chromatic circle indicates an opposition between cold colors and hot colors. 

Similar Painting :

Hieronymus Bosch. Triptych of the Carriage of Hay. (1490).
Even chronological order in this triptych of the Carriage of Hay, on the left the paradise, the tree the snake and the apple, Adam and Eve driven out of the Eden. In the center the tumultuous crowd which moves towards the hell, while trying to benefit from the life and where all perversions and the principal defects are represented. On the right tortures and torments of the hell where the man is punished for his sins by hooded and hybrid creatures semi men, semi animals.

Hieronymus Bosch. Triptych of the Last Judgment. (1500). 
In this triptych on the left panel in the Adam foreground and Eve are with knee in front of the creator, the central scene is organized around a basin and with the background is a tower in the center and angels in the sky. Over the central panel the creator dominates the scene in top with his with dimensions angels and the saints, the central panel is violent, close to the hell the men are locked up in barrels before being judged. In the hell on the right the men who have fault are taken along towards a tower in a cauldron to be punished there. With the background of the paradise and central panel of the stretches of water to the background of the hell fire.

Hieronymus Bosch. Triptych of the Last Judgment. (1504 - 08). 
Compared to the first triptych of the Last Judgment the pallet of the painter is richer, clearer, contrast between colors hot and cold is accentuated. The left panel, the paradise, is really different. The topic is the same one as the left panel of the Carriage of Hay. The creator is present at the foreground with Adam and Eve and in the middle of the sky with the background. The central panel and the hell are even more violent one, the human ones are very tormented, they are locked up in cages, barrels or cauldrons. Tortures are physical and certain images or postures are rather indecent.

Panel of left : The Paradise. 

On this panel, Bosch represents the Paradise where are held the creator, Eve and Adam. In the center the fountain of Knowledge and the tree of the Good and Evil announce the original fault. The aspect of this universe is relatively serene, the anomalies are still soft and balance seems to reign, certain animals have a strange aspect but they do not affect the human body. It is admitted that this panel represents the moment when God introduces Eve, drawn from the body of deadened Adam. An exotic, semi palm tree, semi tree banana is with the left of the scene. Vast wide virgins of human presence, consist of meadows and fabulous animals for the time. (Elephant, unicorn, giraffe, upright going crocodile). Deformed animals or having anomalies emergent of the stretches of water. In the foreground and the center on the line. The background consists of birds and buildings to fantastic but balanced and harmonious architecture. One will find turns of the same type on the central panel which are the recall of those. The hot colors dominate. The only cold color, blue is reserved for the sky the background and water.

The point of view of the spectator is about at the center on the level of the fountain. The sky occupies a reduced part at the top of the painting.

The group in the foreground is framed by 2 natural points of interest. The fountain of knowledge is located on the geographical center of the panel.

The horizontal tension fields delimit the pictorial space of each scene.

The painting is built on the ascending diagonal. Lines delimit contours of the various successive plans which are either of the landscapes, or of the scenes with human beings or animals. A majority of forms draw up itself towards the sky.

Details :
In the foreground certain animals are recognizable, others less. The birds (peacock, magpies, etc .....) do not pose a problem, in the same way for the cat holding a mouse. In and at the edge of the basin the animals seem hybrid, a bird with a head of batrachian, a fish swimming on the back with fins which could become wings, an immersed unicorn… As in unconscious water seems to cause deformation and impulse various which the man knows only by the dreams.

In the middle of the central basin, on a small island, draws up the fountain of knowledge. Its form is harmonious and of a sought esthetics, it is surrounded by birds, symbols of the ideas. Its color is the same one as the clothing of the creator in the foreground signs wisdom and of truth.

Beside the basin, on the line the tree of temptation is. All is in place, the tree, the apples, the snake. Various crawling animals leave water and move under the tree. Dark predicts.
With the background large towers populated of futile in the middle of the trees are. It is the allegory of the world of the spirit. Contrary to all that is on the front, they are air and have little to do with the material world but symbolize the spiritual world.
Light : 
The various scenes are lit by a light which comes from the left.
Colors : 
Harmonize between hot colors.

Harmonize and Contrasts. 
The carryforward of the colors used to the painting on the chromatic circle indicates a harmony between hot colors.

Similar Paintings :
Hieronymus Bosch. Triptych of the Carriage of Hay. (1490). Left panel. 
The panel is darker, in the foreground Adam and Eve is driven out paradise. The creator is in the middle of the sky among a lot of angels. With the background.The creation of Eve is in lower part. In the center the scene of temptation with the tree the apple and the snake. Put except for some birds not of fantastic animals on this panel.

Hieronymus Bosch. Triptych of the Last Judgment. (1500). Left panel.
In the oreground Adam f and Eve are linked by the creator. On the left they seem to play play of temptation. In the middle of the basin the fountain of knowledge is replaced by a tent floating on a boat. It seems to be a place of pleasure. With the background a tower with architecture similar to a cathedral (the first cathedrals were built between 10th and the 13th century) is surrounded characters seeming to have fun and play.

Hieronymus Bosch. Triptych of the Last Judgment. (1504 - 08). Left panel.
On this panel the chronology proceeds upwards in a long plain bordered of trees. The creation of Eve is in bottom in the foreground, temptation is in the medium, Adam and Eve is driven out paradise a little further. The creator dominates the scenes in the middle of the clouds in a halation of light. The angels are below. This panel where the dominant one is the green is coloured colors much clearer.

Central panel. The Garden of the Earthly Delights. 
This tangle of naked bodies at the edge of water, the lascivious installations of the characters, contain in germ many future works, the authors were certainly inspired some. Ingres with his Turkish bath (1862), Renoir and the Large Bathers (1887), like those of Cézanne in 1900. This multitude of naked bodies in installations obscene and without any ambiguity sows the disorder. This discomfort is amplified by the presence of gigantic fruits (recall of apple of Eve) and a great promiscuity with animals of any nature. Poisson, seafood, pigs, these animals are the symbol of the human impulses most bestial. At no moment the sex act is represented but simply suggested. Certain installations and attitudes, certain symbols do not let plane aucuns doubts. It act well of the garden of the pleasures and the delights but does it wouldn't be also the garden of the damnation ? The fall of the man is a topic sails very about it at that time. The central basin can be regarded as a basin of youth but the infernal round which proceeds with its circumference, where naked characters overlap any kind of animals resembles a Sabbath. The only sign of harmony is with the background where the 5 turns point out the turns of the paradise. The pleasures represented especially in the foreground, evoke a humanity deprived of moral conscience. The Fountain of Youth and the egg, symbol of childhood, suggest the original state, whereas the remainder of the composition is devoted to the defects, announced by a man-fish army. In the median part, riders accompanied by animals (defects) surround a basin (lasciviousness) in which bathe white and black women (temptation). The lower register represents the lake and the garden of the love. Couples intertwine or devour there fruits, symbols sexual. The crystal bubble cracked and the butterfly evoke inconstancy, the shells of moulds the coupling, adultery and homosexuality is strongly suggested, the owl and the kingfisher are the symbols of death and the sin.
The line of horizon is high, the point of view of the spectator is a little lower. But the eye is immediately attracted towards swarming and frenzy of foreground.

The tension fields delimit about the various scenes. Close to the 2 natural points interest superior the macabre round around the basin of youth. Close to the 2 lower points of the scenes of debauchery and lust.
In the foreground one counts more than 120 different characters not counting the animals. One can speak about a multitude. A hundred in the round and inside the basin in the second plan. Around fifty with the background. The more one moves away from foreground and the less numerous the human ones are. In the airs there are only hybrid beings, the futile ones and angels.
The panel is built on the ascending diagonal. It could thus constitute a kind the apology for the carnal pleasures. The detail will reveal that it is not the case. And the 3rd panel tightened even more clearly. The guiding lines delimit space for the various scenes. In spite of the very high number characters and animals work remains readable thanks to its lines which separate and clarify the action. However in the foreground a feeling of chaos and disorder dominates because contrary to the second plan where the round is well organized, in the foreground the characters are disseminated in all the directions and of all with dimensions ones. As some are in embarrassing positions, the upside down or are intermingled, confusion reigns and seems desired by the artist.
Details :
It is the evocation of the prostitution, the place, the tent, is closed, bellow the men negotiate with the upholder in top the women are at disposal. There is a queue and certain characters are in embarrassing positions.
2 couples at least are eating forbidden fruits. This referred to a sexuality of group. With the lower part the image of the bird dominating of the holding arm of the fruits is a clear allusion to the sin and death.
The couple in the bubble evokes the transitory physical relations. On the left with an idyll between man and bird on the right with birds on the genitals it is question of bestiality and relations with the animals. The image of the bottom of the man with the rat evokes the torture and already the torments of the hell.
The group holding a giant strawberry is also an allusion to a sexuality of group more widened even. With far a man approaches greedily a siren, a hind comes to lick the back of a naked man, human and animal want to couple themselves and amalgamate. Aren't our instinct low the proof of our bestiality ?
Light :
The central panel is lit by a light coming from left. Each scene is enlightened according to a different angle.
Colors : Opposition between cold colors and hot colors. Opposition between complementary colors.
Harmonize and Contrasts.
The carryforward of the colors of the painting on the chromatic circle indicates one opposition between cold colors and hot and complementary colors. 
Similar Paintings :
Hieronymus Bosch. Triptych of the Carriage of Hay. (1490). Central panel. 
On this panel humanity is on the way towards the hell. In the foreground on the right of churchmen feast and live in opulence, the wish of poverty is forgotten. The carriage is drag by evil men fish and hybrid beings. With the top of the hay humanity makes a pact with the forces of the evil to the great despair of an angel which looks at the creator whose attitude seems to mean : I can nothing there. Dignitaries of the clergy follow the carriage and seem strong satisfied. On its passage the carriage crushes the poor and the weak ones.
Hieronymus Bosch. Triptych of the Last Judgment. (1500). Central panel. 

Humanity is not on the way any more towards the hell, it is there. 
It is the apocalypse as in the last book of the New Testament which announces the end of time and the last judgment. The word apocalypse comes from the Greek verb apocaluptein which means “ to take off the veil ”, the apocalypse is a revelation. The goal is to reveal the direction of the History by addressing a warning which is a call with conversion and fidelity. For the method, it is a question of frightening, of assembling the various defects and their punishments. In the sky of each with dimensions of the creator the angels sound the trumpets. In lower part the sky is on fire, on this panel the scenes are surrealist, the beings are deformed and hybrid, all is only torture and corporal punishment. The world is only violence and the scenes are nightmarish.
Hieronymus Bosch. Triptych of the Last Judgment. (1504 - 08). Central panel. 
This panel is of the same nature that preceding it, it is the apocalypse. The artist simply accentuated the contrast of the colors between the celestial world and the foreground. The world is in full chaos. Medium of the panel to the horizon all is in fire. The foreground is the detail of what it occurs. Torments, sanctions, physical suffering, perversity, sadism, sacrifice, repression. Humanity is not simply tormented it is already sanctioned as it tightened it in hell.

Panel of right : The Hell.
The hell is an outburst of fury to the background. The buildings are in flame, in front of them a multitude is exterminated. By fire, the cord, the sword, the bodies are quartered and torn. Ahead plane the artist denounces arts, (music) science, the charlatans, the play and the church. The animals do not seek any more to couple themselves with the human ones, they devour their bodies with greed. Certain scenes can be considered to be comical, others less… 
In the foreground on the right where on the central panel was churchmen having a feast, a sow is interested of very close with a man, his cap is that of a nun… On its throne the creature devouring human body and to evacuate them in lower part, capped with a cauldron like toga, the image of the pope recalls. The play and the lust are also put at evil on the left. The table of play reversed, the charts, the die, the women stripped in the middle of the swords and of the transpierced hearts make of this panel a violent subversive load towards certain defects which the artist seems not to support.

The horizon is high, the point of view of the spectator is located just in lower part.
The panel induces an idea of fall in the abyss, the scenes and the characters are unstable.

The horizontal tension fields cut out the panel in 3 large scenes. Close to the natural points of interest, in top the tearing of the bodies, bellow attacks against arts, science and the church.

L’œuvre est divisée en 3 grandes parties : au premier plan la dénonciation de certains vices du monde, au second plan, la punition et les tortures physiques, à l’arrière plan la représentation du monde en pleine apocalypse. Le découpage suit à peu prés les lignes de force horizontales. 
Although the panel expresses the idea of a great disorder the various plans are separated by clear guiding lines.

Details : 
The table of play is reversed, the charts are with ground, the player covered by a creature semi rodent semi fish cannot collect them, its body is transpierced by a sword and its hand by a scraping-knife. The waitress holds a jug with a die on the head. The characters have knives or swords planted in the back or the throat. One recognizes the ancestor of the backgammon holds up by dark arms, the tric trac or jacquet.
Capped with a cauldron like toga, this creature in charge of bird on its throne evokes a bishop, an archbishop or even the pope. It should well be remembered that at the time the church levies taxes.

This man who seems to be a writer is in bad posture. The sow which tightens its feather to him has the cap of a nun. Direct allusion to the censure practiced by the church.
The musicians are executed on their instruments. Music is often exploited during the festivals and the deies of iniquity. Science is also abused it competes with the divine power.
This part of work is the place of the torments. The bodies are torn, quartered, the cut ears, one hangs, one deafens the ears with a gigantic bagpipe. In fact hybrid demons organize and practice the damnation.
Light: 
Each scene of the hell is enlightened according to a different angle.

Colors : 

Opposition between cold colors and hot colors.

Harmonize and Contrasts.
The carryforward of the colors used for the painting on the chromatic circle indicates an opposition between cold colors and hot colors. 

Similar Paintings :

Hieronymus Bosch. Triptych of the Carriage of Hay. (1490). Panel of righ.The Hell.
The sky reflects fire with far. Creatures with the heads of animals take along the men on the place of the torment. They carry red caps or black hoods what corresponds to the image of death. The bodies seem to have to be stored in a tower which is in construction. A little birds disseminated everywhere on the panel look at the scene attentively.

Hieronymus Bosch. Triptych of the Last Judgment. (1500). Panel of right. The Hell.
The sky is a blazing inferno. The tower is completed. The human ones are taken along towards the tower in a cauldron what does not let plane any doubt about their fate. In the foreground, around the basin of multiple arms and legs, a man is gulped down by a creature semi bird semi fish. To the center the men are subjected and overlapped by hybrid animals and beings.

Hieronymus Bosch. Triptych of the Last Judgment. (1504 - 08). Panel of right. The Hell. 
With far the turns seem to spit of fire like volcanos. Tortures and the punishments are multiple, the human ones either are thrown in holes, or taken for target by archers, or quartered the upside down or transpierced right through. On this panel all that is green is of demonic nature.