Hieronymus Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights

Hieronymus Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights
Hieronymus Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights

Without a doubt, this is the great work of Hieronymus Bosch, whose real name was Hieronymus van Aeken (1453 – 1516). But it is not only the great work of this fully medieval Flemish artist at the beginning of the Renaissance, it is also one of the most enigmatic and fascinating paintings of all time. A work painted in oil on board and one of the great jewels treasured by the Museo del Prado in Madrid.

Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights

The Bosch Garden of Earthly Delights

This is a triptych, and as usual at the time these triptychs were painted both open and closed. In this case, closed, it shows a grisaille painting that would come to represent the first phase of creation, when there would only be vegetables. But once opened everything is color and each of its three tables has a theme.

On the left we see the Creation of Eve, the original sin and the expulsion from Paradise. Of course a paradise full of splendid vegetation. While in the table on the right Hell is represented, where Bosch's overflowing imagination has no limits, and where many images appear whose symbolism is impossible for us to understand over the centuries.

And as for the central panel, it is the representation of the Garden of Earthly Delights that gives the ensemble its title. An absolutely incredible painting that continues to fascinateeveryone who contemplates it and stops for a long time to look at it. A time that can last for hours, because the typical detail of Flemish painting makes it unfathomable. That, together with the fantasy of its author, makes it practically indecipherable.

In fact, the latest theories about its interpretation think that the painting was painted simply to serve as a reason for conversation in the court of Nassau, since in those images is everything one wants to look for: religion, chaos, sex, flora, fauna, sin, happiness…

Centuries go by and there is still no explanation for those images, neither for the set nor for the scenes, nor for the micro-stories that are included in each area of ​​the painting. That does not mean that it is attractive and that it has fascinated painters of all times, and also characters of any creed and culture. Without going any further, the great collection of paintings by El Bosco that the Prado treasures is due to the fact that the Spanish king Felipe II felt a passion for this painter. Something that never ceases to shock considering the religious fervor of the monarch and the apparent irreverence of El Bosco. However, two facts must be taken into account. Philip II, although Spanish, had a Flemish background, which is why he admired that pictorial school. And secondly, as we have said there are many symbols that we cannot decipher today, since we have lost the keys of the time.

In short, the Garden of Earthly Delights is above all a work to look at and admire. And it's not so much about understanding it asto talk about her. That's why here are several images of her.

Detail 1
Detail 2

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