Hieronymus Bosch was painting terrifying, yet strangely likeable, monsters, long before computer games were invented, often with a touch of humour. His works are assertive statements about the mental dangers that befall those who abandon the teachings of Christ. With a life that spanned from 1450 to 1516, Bosch was born at the height of the Renaissance and witnessed its wars of religion. Medieval traditions and values were crumbling, thrusting man into a new universe where faith had lost some of its power and much of its magic. Bosch set out to warn doubters of the perils awaiting all and any who lost their faith in God. Believing that everyone had to make their own moral choices, he focused on themes of hell, heaven and lust. He brilliantly exploited the symbolism of a wide range of fruits and plants to lend sexual overtones to his themes.
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15th century 212 cm triptych 389 cm triptych activities Adoration alchemists alchemy altarpiece animal Anthony’s Arte Antiga artist associated believed body Bosch’s paintings Boschian Carel van Mander central panel centre Christ Carrying Christian church colour considered creation creatures cult demons depicted Devil Earthly Delights detail elements Epiphany evil exterior figures fire Fränger Garden of Earthly Givry God’s Grand Master Hay Wagon detail hell scene heretical hermit Hieronymus Bosch historian human ideas imagery interpretation left panel Lisbon Madrid Magi detail man’s medieval melancholy Millennium monk Museo Nacional Museo Nacional del Museu Nacional de Arte Nacional del Prado nature Oil on panel painter Philosopher’s Stone pictorial produced reference right panel s-Hertogenbosch Sabbath Saint Anthony triptych Saint Athanasius Satan Saturn sins sorcerers suggested sulphur and mercury symbolism tarot tarot game Temptation of Saint theme Tolnay traditional unclean vessel viewer wings witchcraft witches woman