Реферат: Hieronymus Bosch

BetweenMagic and Reality

Biography of Hieronymus Bosch

HieronymusBoschwasbornin1450inHertogenbosch, a provincial but prosperous town located in the modernNetherlands close to the Belgian border.He is oneof the most famous of the Netherlandish artists, known for hisenigmatic panels illustrating complex religious subjects withfantastic, often demonic imagery.

Toolittle information is safes about his life.Hisfather and grandfather were both painters in the same town before himand apparently Bosch lived all his life there. Fromhis childhood he lived in artist’s family. Hemarried a reachand highbornwoman,Aleid van Mervey. Hieronymus Boschjoined the lay of the Confraternity of Notre Dame.It was founded in 1318. The symbol of the organizationwas white swan. Thissodality consists of friars and secular people. This organizationkept away from the Catholic Church, it confessed ideas of humanismand mysticism. The sodality organized a number of printing houses andschools. Boschwas responsible for designing a stained-glass window, among severalother works, for the town church.

In1480 he was for the first time mentioned as a painter. The last timehe was mentioned in the books of sodality – the 9 of August1516. It was the day of his funeral.

Mystery of Bosch’s paintings

Boschis one of the most mysterious painters in the world. The attitudetowardhim has changed through years. His contemporaries thought that he wasa strange man, who paint fantastic pictures, frightful and funny atthe same time. His paintings became very popular in Spain and inPortugal. In Portugal there are the most good collections ofpaintings of Bosch. There are thousands of books about Bosch and hisworks. Referencesto astrology, folklore, witchcraft, and alchemy, in addition to thetheme of the Antichrist and episodes from the lives of exemplarysaints, are all woven together by Bosch into a labyrinth of latemedieval Christian iconography. Somescientists think that Bosch was a forerunner of the surrealism. Somethink he was a real catholic, some that he was an atheist. From hispaintings we can understand that he was a very well educated person,he knew Bible and lots of other books of past and divsent, he alsonew lots of folk legends. He was good at science, medicine, astrologyand even alchemy. We can say that he also knew music because we canfind lots of musical instruments on his pictures. Scholarsdiffer in their interdivtation of Bosch's art, but most agree thathis pictures show a divoccupation with the human propensity for sinin defiance of God, as well as with God's eternal damnation of lostsouls in hell as a fateful consequence of human folly. Themain theme of his paintings was the opposition of Good and Evil, ofGod and Devil, of life and death.

Amongthe dozens of Boschian paintings, the autograph works generallyaccepted as his include the following: The Marriage at Cana (MuseumBoymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam), The Seven Deadly Sins (Prado,Madrid), Crucifixion (MuseusRoyaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels), The Hay Wain (Prado), The Death ofthe Miser (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), The Temptationof Saint Anthony (Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon), The Gardenof Earthly Delights (Prado), The Adoration of the Magi (Prado), andChrist Carrying the Cross (Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent).

Periods of paintings

Datedworks by Bosch do not existso we cant only imagine the chronology of his paintings. Researchersdivide his work into 3 periods – the earliest, mature andoldest period.

Thepaintings which belong to the earliest period (1470 – 1500)mostly devoted to religious themes. Most of them are illustrations tothe Bible. In the manner of this time we can see an incertitude. Someof the paintings are miniatures. Among the paintings of the firstperiod there are such works as “The Adoration of the magi”,“Christ Shown to the People”, “ Crucifixion”,“ The Seven Deadly Sins”.

Wecan refer such pictures as “Garden of Delights”, “Thelast Judgement”, ‘Monsters”, “ The Hay Wain”etc. to the middle period of Bosch’s work. His paintings inthat period were full of little figures of people and othercreatures, sometimes unreal and strange. But to the end of the middleperiod and in the last period of his work Bosch’s paintingsbecome simply and light. Most of them devoted to the life of saintpeople, like “ Temptation of St Anthony”, “St Johnthe Evangelist on Patmos” and others. The evil became morerealistic, it connected with real people, not monsters.

The technics of paintings

Thetechnics of Bosch’s painting is different from other painter’stechnics of his time. The colors are more bright and rich and thismake his paintings more lively and dinamic. Often he draw on thepiece of wood. On the wood colors became more bright and at the sametime crystal. He also used varnish atop the colour.

Boschoriginally solved the problem of space. In his earliest works he tryto follow the rules of the traditional perspective, but then, in hisnext works he invent his own technics. It is the fantastic space fullof little figures, composed several chains. In his last works histechnics changed again. All figures moved to the first plan. There isno perspective on this paintings.

Stylistically,Bosch worked in a manner called alla prima, a method of applyingpaint freely on a divliminary ground of brownish paint. He wasfamiliar with Dutch manuscript paintings and with foreign prints, andmany of his images can be traced to these sources.


Thepaintings of Hieronymus Bosch are full of symbols. The symbols are sodifferent that it is very hard to find one general key to all ofthem. One symbol can denote lots of different things and objects. Thesymbols in Bosch’s paintings came from different sources:alchemy, magic tractates, folklore, religious books and others.

Thesymbols, which came from alchemy, are the most enigmatic in hispaintings. It is often symbols of evil, Devil and demons, and alsosymbols of lust. There are lots of crystal spheres in his paintingsand it’s come from alchemy. We can see different stages ofsubstance, water, gas and others.

Wecan see different fruits and berries that symbolized lust. There arelots of symbols of male and female in his paintings. Always sharpobjects like arrows, knifes, horns are the symbols of man. Symbolsof woman are circles, shells, jugs, etc.

Boschtook lots of symbols of animals from bible: we can find camels,rabbits, pigs, horses and other “impure” animals, whichsymbolized sin and evil. Often we can see an owl on his paintings. Itis a symbol of wisdom and at the same time of heresy. Also there arelots of skeletons of animals and stale trees on his paintings.

Othersymbols that we can often find in his works are steps, whichsymbolized cognition in alchemy and also sexual intercourse. Also thesymbol of cognition is the key. One of the most fearful symbols isthe clip leg – the symbol of pain, torture and magic.

The works of Hieronymus Bosch (aspecially thepaintings of the second period) are full of different images ofSatan. We can see a traditional demons with horns, wings and tale,but also there are bugs, half-human half-animal creatures,anthropomorphic machines and other grotesque figures. Often Boschpainted demons as a music instruments, mostly wind-instruments.Finally one of the most divvalent symbol of his paintings is a mirror– the symbol of temptation.

The first period of Bosch’s work:Seven Deadly Sins

Wedon’t know exactly when Hieronymus Bosch created “SevenDeadly Sins”. It was somewhere between 1475 – 1480. It’spainted with oil on the piece of wood, and it was a surface of thetable. The size of this painting is 120 x 150 sm. According to Mr.Feldman this painting concerned with the style of emotion, like themost paintings of Hieronymus Bosch. It can be also a style of fantasybut this painting is more sarcastic than fantastic. Primarily itbelonged to Spanish king Philip the Second. Now it is situated inMadrid, in Prado museum. It is signed by Hieronymus Bosch.

Thecentral, circular composition symbolized the eye, eye of Universe,eye of God. In the apple of the eye there is a figure of Jesus Christand a sentence under him: Cave,cave d[omi]n[u]s videt (Beware becauseGod look at you). The light rays radiate from the figure of Christ.Some researchers said that it is a symbol of mirror that fends offall human sins. Around him there are 7 miniatures redivsented 7 sinsand each sin is named. There are: Ira(ire, rage, anger), Superbia(vanity), Luscuria(desire), Accidia(laziness), Guia(guzzle), Avaritia(avarice) and Invidia(envy). At the corners of the painting there are four otherminiatures redivsented Death, The Last Judgement, Hell and Heaven.There are two sentences from Bible at the top and bottom of thepainting. There are no allegories on this painting, everything isconcrete, taken from life. Bosch depicted people of differentsections of population, but all of them are sinners. The main idea ofthis painting that our blood and our money is nothing for God. Everyperson will be on the last Judgement and if he is sinner he will besend to Hell.

Ira– on this miniature we can see the scrimmage of two drunkpeasants. Irais the result of the alcoholism. A woman try to stop them, butwithout any result. Bosch depicted the sin with the help of suchsymbols as kicked off wooden shoes, a chair on the head of one manand others, but most of all with the help of grotesque. The figuresof peasants are awful and ugly, they are very fat with crooked legs.The beautiful nature is also served to show their unpleasantness.

Superbia– we can see a woman in her room, staying in front of themirror (the symbol of temptation), which is kept by the devil. Thewoman trying on a new hat. The room is painted in the style ofBosch’s time and it is look like many others rooms in theHolland houses. This picture is pointed against the interest off manywomen in thefashion.

Luscuria–on this part of painting there are man and woman in the tabernacle.We can see musical instruments on the ground – they symbolizepassion.

Accidia–thelazypriestis sleeping, instead of divy. A cat on the floor is sleeping too.

Guia– the picture show us the scene of diner. I think it is themost terrible picture because the food is given by nun. Allcharacters are awful and ugly. They look like animals, not people.One man is very fat while the other is thin. They are very dirty.

Avaritia– in this picture we can see how the bribed judge is going toaccuse of the innocent man. The book on the wooden box is like a digunder the justice.

Invidia– on this picture Bosch show us quarrel between the neighbors.And their dogs like their masters bark at each other.

Other four pictures showto us what will happened to us. First it is a fragment of death. Itis the death of a reach man. The priest gives him absolution. Thereis a skeleton behind the dying man. And above his head the angel andthe demon are fighting for his soul.

The next pictureredivsent Doomsday. It is painted in the traditional way. The Christis seating on the throne with many angels around him. And revealpeople are below him, on the Earth. The Heaven is painted in atraditional manner too. St Peter and other angelsmeet saintlypeople near the gates of Heaven.

On this painting Boschdepicted Hell for the first time. This picture is the key to otherBosch’s paintings of Hell because Bosch wrote an explanationunder every torture. For the sin of ire people are crucified. Avidpeople siting in the fleshpot with a molten golden coins. Voluptuouspeople are enchained to the bed and a terrible monster bite them.Drank people are drinking dishwater. Bosch took some of the elementsof tortures from the book “Visions of Tundhall” about hisvision of Hell. It was very popular book in Bosch’s times.

Bosch use very bright, full colorsin this painting. They became dark and gloomy only in 2 parts ofpainting, devoted to Death and Hell. There is a normal perspective inthis picture. Most lines are geometrical and straight. The painterdoesn’t use lot’s of shades. The point of attention is atthe center of the picture on the Christ’s figure. We can seebalance and also harmony in this painting.

Themain idea of the paintings “Seven deadly sins” is thatall people are the same in God’s eyes. And He knew all ourdeeds and our sins. Every person, reach or poor will die and thencome to the Last Judgement. No one will help you besides God. Thepainting is circulartoshow us that the sins are the same in every next generation. It is asymbol of the circle of sins, symbol of our Earth, of our University.

Ithink it is a very meditative painting, that make us thinking. May bebecause of that Philip the Second hungit in his tabernacle.

The second period of Bosch’s work:Garden of Delights
Boschpainted “the Garden of Delights” in 1500 – 1510. Itis also oil painting. The size of the central part the painting is220 x 195, the size of each fold is 200 x 97. Now it is situated inMadrid, in Prado.The paintingis full of little figures and it is very colorful. Its look like awonderful carpet. The figures of people are dancing in a colorfulroundelay. All colors are light, spring and soft. The bright light isoverflow the scene. The paintingis very harmonic. It has a normal perspective. Most lines are curvedand natural. It’s very hard to find the point of attentionbecause of the lots of objects on the painting but I think it is atthe one of fantastic building at the center of the painting. At theouter part of the folds there is the third day of the Creation. Thereare 2 sentences at the top of the painting – “Jpsedixit et facta su[n]t”(He said and it’s appeared) and “Jpsemandavit et create su[n]t”(He said and create). In the center inthe crystal sphere appearsthe first mineral and vegetal life. The Heaven asusual is painted on the left fold. The first man and all animals havebeen already created. The heaven is full of different and sometimesfantastic animals: elephants and giraffes are pasture with unicorns,birds with three heads and fishes with wings. The cactus behind Adamis the symbol of Life Tree, the palm is the tree of the Evil andGood. God begins to create Eve. With her creation the evil and sincame. Animals begin to eat each others and in a fountain settled anowl – the symbol of evil. This fountain that look like brightglobe with a half-crystals half-plants on it and a half-moon on thetop is the symbol of heresy. The center of it is the center off theall fold. It correspond with a figure of human-tree-egg in the Hell.At the same manner the figure of God the Maker correspond with thefigure of Devil who eat the sinners. So the folds are symbolizedAlpha and Omega, the beginning and the End of the world. TheHell on the right fold is painted in a dark colors. Some researchersthink that black, red and white colours are the symbols of differentstadies of boiling mercury. It is the world of iсe and fire. Bosch took some episodes from the book “Thevisions of Tundhall“.Another sources where Bosch couldtook his images are the book “Ars morendi” (1488) and“The big calendar of cattlemen” (1493). The painting“Seven deadly sins” can also help to understand this partof painting. The group near the Satan’s throne are the vanity.The man who are crucified on the table is the bowler. We also can seea man who conclude a treaty with devil. The gigantic ear with anarrow in it is a symbol of the disaster. S. De Tolnay said that Hellis Bosch’s nightmare. It is very interesting fact that we cansee a self-portrait of Bosch here, as a face of human-tree-egg. V.Fenger thinks that Hell is the place where rebirth of our worldbegen. It happened with the help of two musical instruments –harp, lute and pipes. But other researchers think that thisinstruments are the symbols of evil. V. Frenger interdivt them as amemory of Heaven. He also said that the village, fire, mill and floodare the symbols of four elements. Thecentral part of the painting is our world that is full of sins andevil. At the center of the painting there is a chain of people aroundthe spring of youth. G. Kombe interdivt it as a alchemicmotive of eternal youth. In the spring there are women with a ravenson their heads and it symbolized the heresy. The peacocks symbolizedvanity, ibises – the past joy, different animals in thecavalcade are the symbols of salacity and other carnal sins. Thereare lots of symbols of male and female origins such as half-moons,horns, cones, cylinders, spheres, etc. which are the alchemic symbolsat the same time. The fruits and berries are the symbols of salacityand carnal love. The man who are carrying the shell with two loversare the deceived husband. Lots of spheres at different parts of thepainting is the symbols of the sins and vises and also the symbols ofour world, full of sins. Behind the bright colour and lots of lightthere are sins and evil. And the colour also have it’s meaning.In alchemy red means creation and blue was the colour of illusions. It is themost mysterious and enigmatic Bosch’s work. The meaning of thepainting all in all and it’s symbols are the reason fornumerous debates. The first explanation of this painting was made in1605 by a priest, Jose de Siguensa. He wrote in a book of order ofSt. Hieronymus that on the painting we can see the appearance of thesin in the Heaven, the evolution of the sin in our world and thepunishment in the Hell. However V. Fenger think that the painting ismore optimistic and it symbolized the depuration by the fire and icein the Hell, than in the purgatory (the central part of triptych) andthan came to felicity in Heaven. Most of researchers refuse thetheory of Fender. Peopleof all epochs invented lots of theories, sometimesfantastic and impossible aboutthe meaning of Bosch’s paintings andI think that lot’s of theories will be created later butno one can prove it and nobody can find out which theory is rightand which is not. Bosch'spictures will stay for us as a mystery forever.

“Мастера живописи. Босх” Доната Баттилотти, издательство “Белый город“, Москва, 1998 г. Н. Н. Никулин “Золотой век нидерландской живописи. 15 век “ издательство “Изобразительное искусство“, Москва, 1981 г. Internet: www.kultur-online.com/greatest
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