The Garden of Earthly Desires

garden of earthly desires

The Garden of Earthly Desires is a triptych painting made by Dutch master Hieronymus Bosch. Also known as the Millenium, this painting consists of three sections or panels placed together that can be folded to show another artwork on the exterior. This striking painting has been known for its vivid imagery and complexity in terms of symbolism.

What is triptych?

The triptych is an oil painting that consists of a square main panel flanked on the sides by rectangular wings that close over the middle section like shutters.

The painting depicts several biblical and heretical scenes on a very grand scale. But the complexity of its symbolisms have provided a number of different interpretations over the years. Some believe the painting to be giving a moral warning or a glimpse of paradise being lost.

Left Panel

The first panel of the triptych measures 87 inches by 38.4 inches. Many experts have called it as the Joining of Adam and Eve.

This panel is interpreted as depicting a scene at the Garden of Eden. It shows a waking Adam and with God holding the hand of Eve with the other hand raised in a sign of blessing.

It is further interpreted as the presentation of Eve to Adam and with God blessing their union. The surrounding landscape shows a variety of animals in paradise.

Center Panel

The center panel measures 87 inches by 77 inches and seems to be part of the left panel’s landscape due to the similarity of the skyline and surrounding landscape.

But this time the center panel now depicts quite number of male and female nudes along with animals in various positions and activity interpreted as erotic in nature. The title of the painting is said to be derived from this panel.

Right Panel

The right panel measures like the left panel, but this time illustrates what has been interpreted as Hell. It shows a dark landscape where men have succumbed into the devils temptations and are paying the consequences of eternal damnation.

It shows a city on fire in the background and with men and women mingling with demons and other mutated animals among various degrees of hardship and torment.

Image Source: Wikipedia

 
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