Bosch Again

I had that Bosch picture of hell, part of tryptch called the Garden of Earthly Delights, on my wall for six or seven years, maybe more.  Sometimes when I was sitting in my hole under Joan and WB’s back deck I would just be sitting there in some sort of stupor, brought on by depression or by the thorazine I took to cure it, and find myself looking at that picture.  I looked at it a lot and was surpised, not always, but quite frequently to find something new in it.

They say Bosch is early Rennaisance.  Maybe but I think he is more middle ages.  When I look at his stuff I think Chaucer, not Shakespeare.

This is Leonardo’s “Last Supper.”  Also Rennaisance.  But as you can see this painting is highly controlled.  There’s nothing sprawling or digressive about it.  Perspective controls the whole thing.  Sure stuff is going on. But the whole thing is boxed.



But how the hell is Bosch’s hell organized.  The only general principle I can see is foreground in the bottom and background at the top.  And in between Lord knows what.


Everything is here of course.  But there’s so much happening that to really see what’s there you have to switch your focus to a detail and nothing in the paintings formal structure tells you to look at such details as:
Some folks say the face looking at from behind that skeleton thing is Bosch himself.  Lots of the stuff is said to be symbolic.



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