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The 'Garden of earthly delights'. Oil painting after Hieronymus Bosch.

  • Bosch, Hieronymus, -1516
[between 1500 and 1599]
  • Pictures
  • Online

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view The 'Garden of earthly delights'. Oil painting after Hieronymus Bosch.


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Credit: The 'Garden of earthly delights'. Oil painting after Hieronymus Bosch. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

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About this work


The composition has been referred to by many different names ("El tráfago del mundo", "Die Weltlust", "De tuin der lusten", "The garden of earthly delights" etc.). The subject of the picture is problematic, but most scholars interpret it as a hostile view of the life devoted to the pleasure of the senses. The first author to leave a specific description of Bosch's composition, Fray José de Siguenza, referred to it in 1605 as "el quadro del madroño" (the picture of the strawberry), interpreting the gigantic strawberry near the centre as a typically transient object of the senses of smell and taste. E.H. Gombrich refined this interpretation by suggesting that the people depicted are intended to be those who lived before the Flood: among other reasons for this identification, a popular mediaeval text, the Historia scholastica of Peter Comestor (twelfth century) states that the earth was less fertile after the Flood than before, when fruit and flowers had grown to enormous sizes (as in Bosch's picture) and mankind had been vegetarian (Gombrich, op. cit.). Other interpretations have found alchemical, astrological or millenarian lore in the picture, while yet others localize it in a feature of Bosch's time, the outburst of moralistic mockery of the self-indulgent mob. See Vandenbroeck, op. cit.


[between 1500 and 1599]

Physical description

1 painting : oil on wood ; wood 131.8-132.3 x 113.5 cm

References note

E.H. Gombrich, 'Bosch's "Garden of earthly delights": a progress report', Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 1969, 32: 162-170
Gerd Unverfehrt, Hieronymus Bosch: die Rezeption seiner Kunst im frühen 16. Jahrhundert, Berlin 1980, no. 161c
Paul Vandenbroeck, Jheronimus Bosch: tussen volksleven en stadscultuur, Berchem 1987


Wellcome Library no. 44972i

Reproduction note

A reduced copy by an unknown painter, perhaps a Fleming active in the mid-sixteenth century, of the central panel of a triptych by Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450-1516), which is now in the Museo del Prado, Madrid. Apart from Bosch's autograph version of his composition, three sixteenth-century copies are recorded, the other two being in Paris and Budapest: see Unverfehrt, loc. cit.

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