HIERONYMUS – Couple on a duck JB26
From an artistic point of view, the world famous brillant forerunner of surrealism was in his day unique and radically different. Hiëronymus (Jeroen for short) Bosch was born during the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, in the duchy of Brabant. Bosch places visionary images in a hostile world full of mysticism, with the conviction that the human being, due to its own stupidity and sinfulness has become prey to the devil himself. He holds a mirror to the world with his cerebral irony and magical symbolism, sparing no one. He aims his mocking arrows equally well at the hypocrisy of the clergy as the extravagance of the nobility and immorality of the people.
Hiëronymus Bosch’s style arises from the tradition of the book illuminations (manuscript illustrations from the Middle Ages). The caricatural representation of evil tones down its terrifying implications, but also serves as a defiant warning with a theological basis.
The Garden of Earthly Delights
Hiëronymus Bosch shows us how we mortal souls, arisen from earthly paradise, are on our way to the atrocious ordeals of hell via our unchaste lives on earth. The dark painting on the closed panels shows the Creation, surrounded by water, in accordance with mediaeval traditions.
On the left of the central panel of the Garden of Earthly Delights an unsuspecting man is seduced by a black woman. In the Middle Ages negroes were viewed a evil. The sin take place on a duck, the symbol of stupidity and alcoholism and is observed by a large colourful kingfisher.