Hieronymus Bosch Biography | Oil Paintings
1450 Hertogenbosch, NED –8-9-1516 Hertogenbosch, NEDBack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Hieronymus Bosch biography, the most enigmatic painter in the whole history of Western art, born Jeroen Anthniszoon van Aken but known by the Latin version of his first name and surname from the shortened form of his birthplace Hertogenbosch in North Brabant, where he spent his entire life, and led a peaceful existence, undisturbed by shocking or unusual events, only one long trip to northern Italy broke the serene monotony of a life spent in his hometown.
Folk and humanistic elements, alchemy, science, religious beliefs, and contact with other painters all contributed to Bosch's cultural background. He painted great allegorical, mystical and fantastic works that combined the grotesque with the macabre.
Within his lifetime the painter Hieronymus Bosch's work was collected in the Netherlands, Austria, and Spain, and widely reproduced, especially his macabre and nightmarish depictions of Hell.
Bosch Adrift Aboard the "Ship of Fools"
His wide-ranging allusions indicate a heterogeneous culture that was still, however, essentially medieval. Bosch puts this background to use in such an unconventional way that it is impossible to determine his position. Works with traditional iconography alternate with sacrilegious and diabolical versions of religious themes, which lead to the suspicion that he might have sympathized with heretical sects. His oils are crammed with devils and demons, weird monsters, dwarfs and hideous creatures, barely recognizable in human form. His quasi-religious and allegorical compositions must have struck terror in the hearts of those who first beheld them, but centuries later he would have a profound influence on the Surrealists.
Garden of Earthly Delights, the most studied work in Western art.
In more recent times there have been attempts to analyze his paintings in Jungian or Freudian terms, the theory being that he tried to put his more lurid nightmares onto his wood panels. Hieronymus Bosch The Garden of Earthly Delights is his best-known work, (pieces of the artwork are shown here) executed on four folding panels, in which he develops the story of Creation and the Expulsion of Adam and Eve. At the core of the artwork is a vast sexual orgy, symbolizing the sins of the flesh that caused man's downfall. This is Bosch's most enigmatic and evocative painting, one of the most studied and variously interpreted works in the whole of Western art. Many theories have been put forward, including its connection with eroticism, alchemy, literary passages, and the painter's association with heretical millenary sects.
It's about the Moral Theme of Women and Lust.
Triptych Of Garden Of Earthly Delights Central Panel has the greatest number of unusual iconographic features, but the two side panels also depict fascinating and absolutely original scenes. The panels should be read in sequence. The starting point is the garden of earthly paradise, where Eve has just been created. However, at the same time and in the same place, monstrous creatures are also being born to share with mankind the illusory bliss of the central panel and they are found again in the gruesome scene of Hell, on the right. Deaf to Divine Law and fallen irredeemably into sin, they are being punished in horrendous ways, in accordance with the law of retaliation. Rather curiously, Bosch includes some musical instruments in the scene, which the Devils are using as instruments of torture.
The left panel only represents the creation of Eve, rather than the usual scenes of Creation, Original Sin, and the Expulsion. This choice is the key to understanding the moral theme of lust that dominates the triptych. Lust thus appears to be the logical consequence of the creation of woman. The fountain of youth surrounded by nude figures riding imaginary animals, the sin of lust being committed by lovers in lascivious positions enclosed in a huge transparent bubble, reference to an old Flemish proverb, “Happiness is like glass, it is quickly shattered”. Strawberries that appear throughout, symbolize a greed for earthly things and are yet another symbol of lust. A naked woman lies motionless at the feet of Satan's throne, condemned to look at her reflection in a mirror on the devil's rear, this being the punishment for vanity. There are hundreds of images to look at, we have broken the painting down into bite-sized portions to be able to see all the incredible strange details here.
A Flemish proverb says, “The world is a mountain of hay: everyone takes as much as they can grab”. Haywain Central Panel Of The Triptych features humanity corrupted by earthly pleasures, truly mad, and inexorably heading toward eternal damnation. The hay, the symbol of man's greed, is slowly being dragged to Hell by a group of monstrous hybrid creatures half-man, half-animal. Even the Pope, the Emperor, and other potentates appear in the procession. On top of the cart, separated from all the turmoil below, sit those who have committed the sin of lust. A peasant couple kisses in the bushes, while others take part in lascivious songs, accompanied by a diabolical figure with a trumpet for a nose and a peacock for a tail, an allusion to the sin of vanity.
Triptych Of Temptation Of St Anthony Central Panel, this triptych is the masterpiece of Bosch's maturity. The central panel shows the saint forced to witness the celebration of a diabolical black mass, while Satanic apparitions and elements from alchemy and witchcraft crowd around.
Christ Carrying The Cross, disturbing characters, mercilessly portrayed, crowd around Christ. Evil is no longer represented by symbols but has become incarnate in human beings. Deformed faces, aquiline noses, sunken eyes, and toothless mouths emerge from the darkness of the background, which is offset by the brilliant colors of their headgear. There is no free space. The scene has a centrifugal motion, following the diagonal line of the cross and comes to rest on the serene face of Christ. Parallels with Leonardo's' sketches of heads have been recognized in Bosch's rendering of expressions.
It is generally accepted in his biography that Bosch’s art was created to teach specific moral and spiritual truths and that the images rendered have precise and premeditated significance. Many of his paintings were simply showing humanity corrupted by the earthly pleasures, truly mad, and inexorably heading toward eternal damnation. His paintings are way too complex and detailed, any part of one of his paintings could become a painting in itself.
In early 2016, The Temptation of St. Anthony, a small panel in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, attributed to the workshop of the painter Hieronymus Bosch, was credited to the painter himself after intensive forensic study.
Art Movement History: Northern Renaissance, Surrealism.
Painters Influencing Hieronymus Bosch: Gothic Art.
He Traveled To Italy.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.