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Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights, 1503–1515


Onizuka

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This fantastical triptych is generally considered a distant forerunner to Surrealism. In truth, it’s the expression of a late medieval artist who believed that God and the Devil, Heaven and Hell were real. Of the three scenes depicted, the left panel shows Christ presenting Eve to Adam, while the right one features the depredations of Hell; less clear is whether the center panel depicts Heaven. In Bosch’s perfervid vision of Hell, an enormous set of ears wielding a phallic knife attacks the damned, while a bird-beaked bug king with a chamber pot for a crown sits on its throne, devouring the doomed before promptly defecating them out again. This riot of symbolism has been largely impervious to interpretation, which may account for its widespread appeal.

 

 

 

 

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