Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hieronymus Bosch - John Godbey

Heironymus Bosch was a Dutch painter born in 1516 in the town of 's-Hertogenbosch, which was located just south of the present-day Netherlands.  Bosch was descended from a line of painters and would marry into relative wealth, allowing him to pursue his craft and achieve substantial popularity during his lifetime.  Bosch was, and is, best known for his hellish depictions of sin, often including grotesque demons, imps, and acts of lust and depravity.  While he presumably produced a number of paintings by commission, only 25 can be conclusively attributed to his brush.  Some of Bosch's most notable surviving paintings are triptychs - a three-paneled painting where the outer two panels may fold over the inner panel.  Triptychs were frequently used as altar toppings, suitably matching the religious nature of many of Bosch's works.

I find Bosch particularly interesting due largely to the fantastic critters found in his more famous works.  Bosch's innovation could almost be seen as a precursor to surrealism in some cases, and I find the imaginative representations to be quite thought-provoking.

"The Garden of Earthly Delights"
Perhaps his most famous piece, "The Garden of Earthly Delights" is a triptych whose three panels show the serene existence (left), sin and lust (center), and the resulting hell on earth (right).  This painting is riddled with bizarre creatures and unfamiliar, imaginative structures.  

Sketches of montsers
While relatively few of Bosch's completed paintings survived, a number of fantastic study drawings were recovered.  In this study, Bosch explores a number of visualizations for various monsters and witches.  

"Adoration of the Magi"

In Bosch's "Adoration of the Magi," he channels the styling of Jan van Eyck and produces a piece representative of his final paintings.  In "Adoration," he contrasts the colors of the robes to indicate the "duality of the eternal and the ephemeral" while framing the whole scene in a beautiful panoramic view inspired by the Master of Flemalle's Nativity (Tolnay). 

Works Cited

Cuttler, Charles D., and Hieronymus Bosch. Hieronymus Bosch: Late Work. London: Pindar, 2012. Print.

Hieronymus Bosch: The Complete Works. Web.

Tolnay, Charles De. Hieronymus Bosch. New York: Reynal, 1966. Print.


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