Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights (1503-1504). Part One: Eve Joining Adam in the Garden of Eden

Hieronymus Bosch, Garden of Earthly Delights (1503) Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain. Left Panel: Eve Joining Adam in the Garden of Eden

Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450–1516) was a Netherlandish painter whose work is most widely known for its exceedingly strange representation of religious subjects. The Garden of Earthly Delights is one of his most famous works and has been a source of much research in the field of art history for many many years. The triptych (a work composed of three panels that are connected either physically or in subject matter/content) displays three scenes meant to represent (from left to right:) Eve Joining Adam in the Garden of Eden, The Garden of Earthly Delights, and Hell. Today I will be presenting on the first or left panel, tomorrow I will present the central panel and Thursday will be on the right panel. I will use Friday to sum up the triptych as a whole and answer any questions people may have had about any of them! Please remember to post questions here or email me at theartdaily@gmail.com.

The left panel of the triptych depicts Eve being brought to Adam by God in the Garden of Eden. We see God about to place Eve's hand in Adam's while Adam looks on almost stupidly from his seat on the ground. The area surrounding them seems to be filled with animals and flora of all different species. There is also a large pink fountain structure behind the couple that symbolizes the Fountain of Life. To the left of Adam we also see the Tree of Knowledge that will ultimately lead to the Fall of Man and his entry into the Garden of Earthly Delights that exists outside of Eden. This panel can therefore be seen as the foreshadowing of Man's decline after the Fall and his ultimate punishment in Hell if he partakes of the temptations that the earthly world will offer. Though this panel foreshadows most of what follows in the next two panels it is by far the most simple and easy to understand symbolically.

I have posted a detail of this panel as well as a larger image of the whole triptych. This work was executed by Bosch later in his life and is thought by many to be his masterwork. It is indeed a very interesting piece and one that deserves a lot of thought and discussion. I will be back tomorrow with lots of images from the central panel, the Garden of Earthly Delight!

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