Bosch painted a lot of religious works especially dealing with the Passion and crucifixion of Christ. He’s most famous for his chaotic Triptych’s, such as his famous depictions of revelations. However, why all the violence, lust and demotic imagery for such a devout Christian?
We must understand that Hieronymus Bosch’s hell’s had a point. They symbolized the torment one would receive in the afterlife for a lifetime wasted focusing on earthly pleasures instead of purifying the soul. It should be apparent that Bosch’s chaos is a direct effect of the black plague. The dark images are remnants of a nightmare reality caused by the atrocities of disease.
Looking at the Garden of Earthly Delights
In the center is life after the fall of Eden. Here, men and women are seen indulging in the finer things in life- love making, dancing, feasting and unity with the beasts of this world. However, that type of living had consequences.
Here, we have a depiction of hell. Bosch sees hell as ironic, where the pleasures of life becomes the downfall of character. Demons feast on the souls as if for substance, the games of chance are held over the heads of the damned and the instruments- tools of the party slowly crush it’s most beloved goers.
Here, we have God welcoming Eve into the Garden of Eden. In this image, man lives along side the beasts where they are separated by their devotion to God. Also, God is present on earth; which seems that Bosch was associating the Garden of Eden as a kind of Heaven on Earth before the fall of innocence.