13 October 2011

The Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosh Part 2

The right panel of the The Garden of Earthly Delights gives us a glimpse of decay and death, human bodies turned into something demoniac. 

But back in  the garden, the way the beauty of the picture works, is that you are always forced to look at the details, which can turn from harmless to repulsive. But the beauty of the picture also works to make the repulsive seem familiar. So if you know what is like to be inside of one of these eggs kissing a man ...

Even though it is hard to believe, it is still a religious painting and Bosh reworked religious ideas using popular sayings of his time. Sayings about life going hopelessly wrong for example. In those days, in the part of the world where Bosh lived you would say "it is a real owl's nest" . 
Owls did not suggest wisdom, because they are night creatures, they suggested alarm, they were negative. 

The problem is, many of the sayings of Bosh's time are lost now, so when a symbol is unclear, you have to think about the overall nude. For example, a couple in a clinch means love making.

Everyone, everywhere greedily devouring fruit.

So the overall nude says the middle  picture of the The Garden of Earthly Delights is picture of unrestrained appetite. The human animal not caring what it does. 

And a note of alarm ... 

Continues ...

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