12 de julio de 2011

Hieronymus Bosch - The Garden of Earthly Delights

Netherlandish master

The Garden of Earthly Delights is a triptych painted by the early Netherlandish master Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450–1516), housed in the Museo del Prado in Madrid since 1939. Dating from between 1490 and 1510, when Bosch was about 40 or 50 years old, it is his best-known and most ambitious work..It reveals the artist at the height of his powers; in no other painting does he achieve such complexity of meaning or such vivid imagery.
EXTERIOR-When the triptych's wings are closed, the design of the outer panels becomes visible. Rendered in a green–gray grisaille, the outer panels lack colour, probably because most Netherlandish triptych are thus painted, but possibly indicating that the painting reflects a time before the creation of the sun and moon, which were formed, according to Christian theology, to "give light to the earth". It was common for the outer panels of Netherlandish altarpieces to be in grisaille, such that their blandness highlighted the splendid colour inside.The outer panels are generally thought to depict the Creation of the world, showing greenery beginning to clothe the still-pristine Earth. God, wearing a crown similar to a papal tiara (a common convention in Netherlandish painting), is visible as a tiny figure at the upper left. His expression and gestures seem hesitant and morose, according to the art historian Hans Belting, "as though the world he had created was already slipping beyond his control". Bosch shows God as the father sitting with a Bible on his lap, creating the Earth in a passive manner by divine fiat. Above him is inscribed a quote from Psalm 33 reading "Ipse dixit, et facta sunt: ipse mandávit, et creáta sunt"—For he spake and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.The Earth is encapsulated in a transparent sphere recalling the traditional depiction of the created world as a crystal sphere held by God or Christ Refracting light, it hangs suspended in the cosmos, which is shown as an impermeable darkness, whose only other inhabitant is God himself.
INTERIOR-Scholars have proposed that Bosch used the outer panels to establish a Biblical setting for the inner elements of the work, and the exterior image is generally interpreted as set in an earlier time than those in the interior. As with Bosch's Haywain triptych, the inner centerpiece is flanked by heavenly and hellish imagery. The scenes depicted in the triptych are thought to follow a chronological order, flowing from left-to-right they represent respectively, Eden, the garden of earthly delights, and Hell.God appears as the creator of humanity in the left hand wing, while the consequences of his will are implied in the right. However, in contrast to Bosch's two other "true" triptychs, The Last Judgment (around 1500) and The Haywain (after 1510), God is absent from the central panel. Instead, this panel shows humanity acting with free will and engaging in various sexual activities. The right hand panel is believed to show God wreaking vengeance for these sins in a Last Judgment hellscape.
CENTER PANEL-The skyline of the center panel matches exactly with that of the left wing, while the positioning of its two central pools echoes the lake in the earlier panel. The center image depicts the expansive "garden" landscape which gives the triptych its name. The panel shares a common horizon with the left wing, suggesting a temporal and spatial connection between the two scenes. The garden is teeming with male and female nudes, together with a variety of animals, plants and fruit. The setting is not the paradise shown in the left panel, but neither is it based in the terrestrial realm. Fantastic creatures mingle with the real; otherwise ordinary fruits appear engorged to a gigantic size. The figures are engaged in diverse amorous sports and activities, both in couples and in groups.
During the Middle Ages, sexuality and lust were seen as evidence of man's fall from grace, and the most foul of the seven deadly sins. This sin is depicted in the left-hand panel through Adam's gaze towards Eve, and there are many indicators in the center panel to suggest that the panel was created as a warning to the viewer to avoid a life of sinful pleasure. The penalty for such sins is shown in the right panel of the triptych. In the lower right-hand corner, a man is punished for lust as he is beaten by a sow wearing the veil of a nun. The pig is shown forcing the man to sign legal documents.Lust is further symbolised by the gigantic musical instruments and by the choral singers in the left foreground of the panel. Musical instruments often carried erotic connotations in works of art of the period, and lust was referred to in moralising sources as the "music of the flesh". It may also be that Bosch's representation here is a rebuke against traveling minstrels, widely thought of as purveyors of bawdy song and verse.

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