Analyse Bosch's "Garden of delights" with reference to the concept of human sin, or portrayals in the bible"
Hieronymus Bosch, a Nertherlandish painter is known for his fantastic visual interpretations of hell, death sin and folly. Little is known about Bosch except that he spent his life in the provincial town of s'Hertogenbosch and that he died an old man in 1516. His work, full of weird and seemingly irrational imagery has proved so difficult to interpret that much of it despite the remarkable insights contributed by recent research, remains unsolved. This study project will explore some of his more obvious symbolisms and relations to sin as portrayed in the bible.
The Piece in question is called The Garden of Earthly Delights", one of his most famous works, made in c.1500. It is comprised of three panels, each depicting a different scene. Of the three panels only the left has a clearly recognizable subject: The Garden Of Eden, wherein the Lord introduces to Adam, the newly created Eve. And it is on this panel where we begin.
This panel features the Garden of Eden, vested in its natural beauty, the tree of knowledge and of course the lord introducing Adam to Eve. And this in turn begins the sin that supposedly damned all of humanity: Original Sin. (Many religions have conflicting issues and views on the concept of original sin, but this will be explored with reference to the Catholic Church, and the bible.)
Adam's sin, as recounted in the Book of Genesis is sometimes called in Hebrew (translated: the first sin of man, or Adam). The account in Genesis (2-3), implies that Adam and Eve initially in communion with God. God warned Adam not to eat the fruit of "the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" (Genesis 2:15-17). The serpent persuaded Eve, who in turn persuaded Adam, to disobey this commandment. After eating of the fruit, they realised the mistake they had made, and were ashamed of their nakedness. They were cast out of Eden, damning the rest of Humanity.
In this panel, Bosch has depicted them in the aforementioned "communion", but as we move along, we will see how things become twisted. The main analysis of this panel is quite simple compared to the next two. The birds, fruit etc, are symbols or metaphors which Bosch uses to depict man's life on earth as an unending repetition of the Original sin of Adam and Eve, whereby we are all doomed to be prisoners of our appetites. This fruit motif, representing our appetites or desires, will again appear, as corruption begins to seep into humanity.
Quite neatly put by the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
"The Catholic Church teaches that original sin, in which human beings are born, is "the state of deprivation of the original holiness and justice ... it is transmitted to the descendants of Adam along with human nature" (Courtesy of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 76)."
Here we see a landscape much like that of the Garden of Eden, populated with countless nude men and women performing a variety of peculiar actions: in the center, they parade around a circular basement on the backs of all sorts of beasts; most of them closely linked with enormous birds fruits, flowers or marine animals. Only are few or openly engaged in sexual intercourse, yet there can be no doubt that the delights in this garden, are those of carnal desire, however oddly disguised.
This world to Bosch is brimming with symbols of sin. The motifs in this panel are the water birds, fish and ripe strawberries. Most interpreters associate these symbols with the sin of Lust. Lust; is one of the Seven Deadly sins of man. Lust is a term for an intense desire or craving, usually sexual. Lust implies a sexual desire in and of itself, an erotic arousal and wish, or intense physical or sexual attraction or craving. Wikipedia. In this sense, it is considered a...