top of page

Hieronymus Bosch: Hellishly Good Art

"Christ in Limbo" Hieronymus Bosch, Oil on Wood

"Hieronymous Bosch" Anonymous, Oil on Panel, 1585

Hieronymus Bosch was born in Jheronimus van Aken in (1450- August 9, 1516). Bosch is a painter from the Netherlands, and came from an artistic family. His father and all of his uncles were painters for a living. And was trained by a relative while growing up there are no known letters or journals from him. Other than some other details little is known about his early life. Much like his life little is known about his personality or his thought process when painting nor the symbolism to the art he makes. Bosch is known for his dark works of art with his crude and disturbing artworks. Bosch never dated his paintings and may have signed only some of them (other signatures are certainly not his). Fewer than 25 paintings remain today. In earlier times people interpreted his paintings as medieval heresies or dreams and nightmares. He spent all of his life in the town of, ‘s-Hertogenbosch. It is currently the fourth most populated city in the Netherlands Bosch produced sixteen triptychs, a triptych is an artwork made up of three pieces or panels. Which are all accounted for with five being in pieces while the other eight are fully intact.

Some scholars have attributed his unparalleled originality to the hallucinations and side effects of a deadly daisies known as Saint Anthony's Fire caused by the consumption of a fungus that grows on rye seeds. But it is unknown what inspired such radical pieces of art.

"Tondal's Vision" Hieronymus Bosch, Oil on Panel

This painting is entitled Tondal’s Vision, there are many things happening in the painting, even so each section seems to be divided with his horrifying hellscapes and outlandish creatures, and it draws the attention of the viewer to each piece of the painting, you can spend a lifetime trying to decode each detail in one of his painting. It appears to be as each section were originally their own individual pieces, and then put together into one big piece. The painting seems to be telling a story and each story is for the viewer to interpret on their own.

"The Garden of Earthly Delights" Hieronymus Bosch, Tryptic Oil on Wood

This painting is known as The Garden of Earthly Delights. It is a painting consisting of three panels with a front cover consisting of two wooden panels that open up to reveal this. Triad of magnificent art. The cover consists of a grayscale painting of God creating the earth. Out of all his paintings The Garden of Earthly Delights is one of his most dizziying and outstanding works of art. This piece was believed to be commissioned by Count Hendrick the third and was painted between 1490-1510. On the first panel on the left it depicts Jesus introducing Eve to Adam surrounded by birds, beasts and sea creatures. In the middle panel it consists of unruly humans dominating the animals and overrun strange structures and objects surrendering to the temptations of earthly desires and indulging in the flesh. The final panel on the right depicts Hell and the nightmare of perdition with animals of human proportion torturing the damned souls of hell.

I think it is a magnificent painting depicting the temptations of man. The piece is so diverse with so many intriguing details and eye catching characters. The painting is so captivating you could spend days looking at the piece and still not have found every detail. While Bosch has long since passed and we may never know much about him, his strangely haunting art lives on and through it we are able to remember an incredibly talented man, centuries after his passing.


Sonny Nesmith is a senior at Poudre High School and is in his first year at the Poudre Press. Sonny runs Acrylic Arts, a blog based around art curation, creation, supplies, and other tips. Check him out!

81 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page