Take a look at the painting The Garden of Earthly Delights. It is truly a remarkable painting that is completely chaotic, yet is full of very intricate details. The Garden of Earthly Delights was painted by the artist Hieronymus Bosch who seemed to have mastered the technique of oil paintings during the Northern Renaissance.
Hieronymus Bosch was an extremely respected and known artist during the fifteenth century. He was born and raised in ’s-Hertogenbosch, a city that would now reside in the southern part of the Netherlands. Hieronymus Bosch appeared to be a painter all his life and it is speculated he inherited his talent from his father. Hieronymus Bosch became known throughout Europe as a fantastic painter because of his use of imagery to portray stories and religious concepts within his paintings. The Garden of Earthly Delights is a perfect example of his intricate artwork that narrates passages from the Bible.
The Garden of Earthly Delights appears to be separated in three panels. This format of painting is called a triptych, which Bosch produced many of. The first panel, on the left, depicts the paradise that earth once was when it was just Adam and Eve. The middle panel has lots of human bodies in a small space along with fruit bearing trees and numerous birds. The third panel is very dark, physically and metaphorically. This third panel depicts Hell as being very ruthless. Within this section of the painting , there is torture and punishment being used, all the while there is a city being burned into rubble. When put together, the three panels appear to make a story. In the first panel, God is ever present and by following Him, life is a paradise. In the second panel, God appears to be absent or irrelevant and the humans are engaging in all sorts of behavior that they now deem fit. The third panel shows the consequences of the humans’ actions in which they will be punished for eternity. Religious paintings, such as the one shown above, is the style in which Hieronymus usually painted it.
By just glancing at the painting, it is easy to see why it caught my attention. I decided to do an analysis of this picture because I have never seen a painting that is separated into panes such as this one is. The intricate details blew my mind, specifically in the second panel. Every single human and animal appear to be anatomically correct no matter what type of contortion their body is positioned in. In panel one, there is a giraffe and an elephant that are very life-like. I was very surprised since I did not think that Hieronymus Bosch, let alone nearly everyone in Europe at that time, could accurately depict these mammals that do not even reside on the same continent. All of this chaos, silly enough, remind me of the very popular books I used to look at when I was a child, Where’s Waldo. The way I analyzed this picture is similar to how I would look for Waldo. I had to scan the entire picture and zoom in on one particular section at a time in order fully realize what was being displayed in the picture. In Hieronymus’s paintings, the precise detail to create anatomically correct humans and the focus on the individual is called humanism. Humanism became exceedingly popular during the Italian Renaissance, and the ideals followed through into the Northern Renaissance.
The Northern Renaissance gave arise to very many respectable artists who do not receive the recognition that they desperately deserve. This oil painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch, is one of the few paintings from that time that has received the applause it deserves. Although the dating of this painting is unsure, ranging from 1490 to 1510, it is now being housed at the Museo Del Prado in Madrid where it can be appreciated for the infinite future. The painting is being housed fairly close to its home, which is somewhere in the area of the Netherlands. The painting is truly remarkable and I personally would love to see the original in person.