Friday, February 01, 2008


Garden of Earthly Delights - detail

Garden of Earthly Delights

Hieronymous Bosch (1450-1516) lived in Holland and produced paintings with naked people and a touch of the surreal.

Bosch mixed with the sophisticated members of the upper class.

"Bosch made the female body into a kind of forbidden fruit. In this way, he played on the traditional understanding of the Fall as a seduction of male reason by female body and clarified the "lust of the eye" introduced in the scene of Adam and Eve.

"The replacement of human bodily parts with large pieces of fruit and the suggestive combination of naked bodies and fruits varied endlessly in the Garden scene, along with the apple picking in the grove at far right, further amplify the metaphoric use of fruit to refer to all carnal pleasures and appetites, especially sexual pleasures.

"Though all of this fruit-body imagery is playful and geared toward the pleasures of artistic imagination, all of it remains allegorical. And at least some of this imagery is inflected with particular sexual references. Thus the naked man who bends in the left foreground to touch the shoulder of another naked man offering him fruit is "sodomized" by the phallic stem of the giant strawberry attached to his back. With a third man added to this homosexual couple, Bosch suggested the sinful pleasures of homosexual lovemaking."

According to one writer: "Bosch's works were largely of homoerotic cartoon figures, which may be seen as trying to rid homosexual guilt." ( Cached )


1 comment:

Overtime said...

"Garden of Earthly Delights" has been one of my absolute favorite paitings for quite some time. It was my freshman yr of college and I had a 'bored' Sunday that I used to look ahead in a few classes. I was blown away by the details in this paintings.

It takes on a bit of a supernatur/sci-fi aire if you really think back to the time at which this was composed. It's stunning.