Hieronymus Bosch, Garden of earthly delights

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Prestel Pub., 2002 - Art - 125 pages
Few paintings inspire the kind of intense study and speculation as The Garden of Earthly Delights, the luminous triptych by Dutch master Hieronymus Bosch. Now renowned art historian Hans Belting offers a radical new interpretation of this masterpiece -- one that places Bosch's vision squarely in the context of his times.Hieronymus Bosch's elaborate paintings have always been hugely popular as well as controversial. His landscapes depicting humans, animals, and fabulous creatures in various states of ecstasy and misery were greatly imitated by his contemporaries and laid the foundations for the Surrealist movement of the 20th century. But of all Bosch's works, The Garden of Earthly Delights, located in the Prado Museum in Madrid, has provoked the most debate. Commissioned by a wealthy Dutch noble, the painting has been interpreted as a heretical masterpiece, a condemnation of Catholicism, an opulent illustration of the Creation, and a premonition of the end of the world. Now Hans Belting offershis own reading of the work, which he sees not as apocalyptic, but utopian. Taking readers through each panel, Belting discusses various schools of thought, and explores Bosch's life and times. He compares Bosch's vision with the humanistic theories of Thomas More and Willibald Pirckheimer and suggests that the painter's aim was not to evoke the end of the world, but to investigate how the world would exist had the Fall not happened. Enhanced by an exquisite fold-out reproduction of the original painting, this fascinating study is an important contribution to the literature and theory surrounding one of the world's most enigmatic artists.

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Hieronymus Bosch: Garden of Earthly Delights

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Although Hieronymus Bosch's triptych painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights, has fascinated viewers for centuries, commentators have been perplexed about its intended meaning. In this book, German ... Read full review


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About the author (2002)

Hans Belting is professor of art history and media theory at the University of Munich and the University of Chicago, and the author of The End of the History of Art? and Likeness and Presence.

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