Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The First Surrealist

(Part of my artist research.K. Shiuka)
Hieronymus Bosch - The First Surrealist
The Garden of Earthly Delights, by Hieronymus Bosch
 Little is known about the life of Netherlandish master Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450-1516),  he was undoubtedly one of the most visionary artists of his era.  his paintings are often of fantastical landscapes and preposterous scenes of the imagination.
He is described as the first surrealist.
In his mysterious and enigmatic allegorical triptych, one of his best known paintings  "Garden of Earthly Delights" which is actually an incredibly significant painting to the genre of erotic art. Paintings arranged as a triptych with three internal panels and two external panels that can be folded over the internal panels, making a total of five individual paintings in the triptych, rare composition, it does lack color and appears almost monochrome. This is known as a Grisaille style and was popular around Bosch's time. We then open the panels and the triptych explodes with color and movement.
He painted enormous fruits and giant birds cavorting with tiny people of all races in a sumptuous garden. This painting presents a complex labyrinth of seemingly contradictory ideas and motifs. The triptych has been interpreted as a critique of the Catholic Church, a panorama of the Creation or a reflection on the humanist writings of Thomas More. The external panels, though not erotic, can't be ignored; they're just very beautiful and they also help set the context of the internal panels. The external panels depict a moment during the Creation of the Earth thought to be the third day as described in Genesis. God is sitting in the top left hand corner. Whatever his intent, Bosch’s giant birds are wonderful examples of the way that painters throughout history have used birds—as symbols of nature and the soul, as go-betweens, harbingers and messengers—and as intriguing examples of the wonders of nature.
The panel on the left shows God greeting Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The panel on the right shows a surrealistic depiction of Hell.  It doesn't appear to have any religious significance, and there is no religious imagery used at all. It is simply and incredibly orgy of uninhibited nude men and women frolicking in an dreamlike wonderland. Many art historians speculate the meaning of this painting and the general consensus is that it is a warning against lust and indulgence during our time on earth lest ye be cast down into the scenic pits of Hell for all eternity.

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