Archive for the ‘Bosch, Hieronymus’ Category

The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch

September 29, 2009


The Garden of Earthly Delights (or The Millennium) is a triptych painted by Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450–1516). The painting has been housed in the Museo del Prado in Madrid since 1939. Dating between 1503 and 1504, when Bosch was about 50 years old, it is his best-known and most ambitious work.

The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch

The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch


The triptych is painted in oil and comprises a square middle panel flanked by two rectangular wings that can close over the centre as shutters. The three scenes of the triptych are probably intended to be read chronologically from left to right.

The left panel depicts God presenting to Adam the newly created Eve:

The Garden of Earthly Delights (left panel)

The Garden of Earthly Delights (left panel)


The central panel is a broad panorama of sexually engaged nude figures, fantastical animals, oversized fruit and hybrid stone formations:

The Garden of Earthly Delights (centre panel)

The Garden of Earthly Delights (centre panel)


The right panel is a hellscape and portrays the torments of damnation:

The Garden of Earthly Delights (right panel)

The Garden of Earthly Delights (right panel)


Art historians and critics frequently interpret the painting as a didactic warning on the perils of life’s temptations. However the intricacy of its symbolism, particularly that of the central panel, has led to a wide range of scholarly interpretations over the centuries. 20th and 21st-century art historians are divided as to whether the triptych’s central panel is a moral warning or a panorama of paradise lost.

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