1450 - 1516
(late Gothic period)
Hieronymus Bosch was an extreme artist and an extreme pessemist.His art gave vivid expression to the profound anxieties that troubled the human mind. Bosch was obsessed with sin and the torments of hell’s fire. His paintings told tales of the snares laid by the devil for the unwary human soul on its perilous journey through life. His powerful imagination created haunted worlds where grotesque monsters and hideous demons frolicked about; twisted and gnarled structures filled the backround; distorted human souls being pitchforked into hell; fruit and eggs endowed with arms and legs; giant birds and fornicating humans scattered throughout fiery landscapes.
Bosch’s use of imagery was strong. The central panel of The Last Judgement is an especially hellish landscape, infested with a swarm of devils, burning pits, furnaces, bizarre and twisted constructions, and instruments of torture. Half human, half animal monsters prance around the scenery. A large human-sized egg pierced with an arrow walks about with booted legs. Bosch creates a juxtaposition of harsh, dark feelings painted in a smooth and almost transparent way.
The element of fantasy in his work gives it an inexhaustable fascination. Who knows what induced these dreamlike apocalyptic compositions. The Black Death?, the idea of the alluring and deceptive pleasures of sin?, or just the devil’s lock on human life? Whatever it was that inspired him, helped him inspire thousands throughout the history of art and into contemporary times.
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