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 Bosch, Hieronymus: The Garden of Earthly Delight
Painted 1504, Triptych, plus shutters; Oil on panel, Central panel, 220 x 195 cm, Wings, 220 x 97 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid

Bosch's most famous and unconventional picture is The Garden of Earthly Delights (c.1500; Prado, Madrid) which, like most of his other ambitious works, is a large, 3-part altarpiece, called a triptych. This painting was probably made for the private enjoyment of a noble family. It is named for the luscious garden in the central panel, which is filled with cavorting nudes and giant birds and fruit. The triptych depicts the history of the world and the progression of sin. Beginning on the outside shutters with the creation of the world, the story progresses from Adam and Eve and original sin on the left panel to the torments of hell, a dark, icy, yet fiery nightmarish vision, on the right. The Garden of Delights in the center illustrates a world deeply engaged in sinful pleasures.

In reference to astrological alignments at the time this was painted, a lot of the instruments of torture are also musical instruments.


878 x 969 277.6K
277.6K, 878 x 969

Garden of Earthly Delights
(Ecclesia's paradise)
Central panel
Bird-Headed Monster
Detail from right wing

802 x 1067 316.7K
316.7K, 802 x 1067

511 x 1274 184.1K
184.1K, 511 x 1274

The Earthly Paradise
(Garden of Eden)
Left wing
Creation of the World
Outer wings (shutters)
depicting the third day of creation

876 x 950 137.8K
137.8K, 876 x 950

502 x 1274 180.5K
180.5K, 502 x 1274

Hell
Right wing