The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch, (detail) c. 1495–1505 (Museo del Prado)
Painting on the cusp of the medieval and Renaissance worlds, Hieronymus Bosch (1450–1516) continues to fascinate us with the fantastic imagery and densely symbolic messages of his compositions. Though little is known about his background, this Netherlandish painter seems both to express the spiritual dilemmas of his generation and to exist in a timeless world of his own.
His most famous painting, Garden of Earthly Delights, has been interpreted in myriads of ways, none of them conclusive or mutually exclusive. So have many of his other works, which offer countless imaginative perspectives on human foibles and temptations, and, more rarely, hint at the possibility of salvation. Yet even after new examinations and research, many of his masterpieces remain as perplexing as they probably appeared to their original viewers.
Art historian Aneta Georgevskia-Shine discusses ways of approaching this unique artist whose collected works reveal worlds that his contemporaries thought unimaginable.
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*
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*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.