: The Most Evil Men in History - Torquemada.
Study of the pictorial language of Hieronymus Bosch. (16 110 words, 165 images, 8,95 Mo, Prohibited at least of 12ans, on line : 17.12.2016. Author : Bernard Martin Renou).
Click on the paintings to see in large size, then move the pointer to make move work. Return: Click on the yellow arrows on the left. Where that you are, if you want to re-examine the zooms, click on the title of the triptychs.
Warning : Do not leave the children of less than 12 years seeing these pages alone.
An adult must accompany them and to explain the symbols to them, especially if the children read badly, cannot read, or do not understand the explanations.
The speech moralizer of Hieronymus Bosch seeks to shock, to frighten and certain images can be violent for the children.
Hieronymus Bosch. (1450 -1516).
The triptychs of Hieronymus Bosch are populated by strange animals and abnormal beings, sometimes hybrid, whose body is of a species and the head of another, at which end ? Are these odd animals, often abnormal, the allies of the men or their enemies ? From which do they come ? Which is their origin ? How does they arrive in the fantastic world of Bosch and for which reason ?
We tried to count them and to classify them by species and kinds and immediately an obviousness appeared : preponderance of the birds. Why ? With a which aim ? Follow us throughout this enthralling investigation in the middle of the religious beliefs of the Middle Ages but also with deepest of unconscious human and its symbolism. It is difficult to understand something in the characters of the triptychs of Hieronymus Bosch if you do not have the code… One shows you the strange images of the work of Bosch without you to explain them.
When interpretations generally appear they are false, erroneous and apart from the context of the time. Bosch is not a surrealist painter surrealism does not exist !
For Bosch most important it is not morals but the denunciation of the exactions of the church it even…
The origin of the Birds.
Click on 1,2 and 3 to know the origin of the birds in the work of Bosch.
You can note that the vision of Hieronymus Bosch is not at all scientist and that one is far from Darwin and of the theory of the evolution. (The work : “Of the origin of the Species ” of the naturalist Charles Darwin was published in 1859).
From time immemorial the man regarded the air as the medium of the spirit. As it is the environment where evolves the bird this one became a being of spirit, similar to the thought. For a long time the man allots to the bird an almost divine nature and this in particular because of the belief that the heart of late leaves its body in the shape of a small outgoing bird of the mouth. The bird becomes thus the allegory of the heart in general which leaves the ground. Actually it is rare that one can stir up ground without attracting a multitude of birds. As the man always buried his deaths and that any stirred up ground attracts the birds the relationship with the beyond comes from there.
The Activity of the birds.
Often at Bosch the bird observes, it is here the case for the owl in the Carriage of hay. 4. When the bird becomes active, often, the things are spoiled for the man as we will see further. Here the winged demon plays of a long flute, it makes resound with the ears of the man a sound which must disturb it well, considering the instrument, temptations, desires, appetites, concupiscence…
1/ Under the creator, on the left of the triptych of the last judgment of 1450 is held the fight between the rebellious angels, archangels and angels. Overcome and driven out the rebellious angels are expelled of the skies and fall on ground. One sees in bottom of the winged creatures which fall of the firmament towards the ground. Actually the rebellious angels are demons which with final normally must populate the hells. Their forms exactly are not distinguished.
2/ Under the creator always, on the left of the triptych of the Carriage of Hay is held the same scene of the rebellious, driven out angels skies and falling down on ground. On this triptych one clearly distinguishes the forms which take the rebellious angels. Birds, insects, crawling creatures winged. The metamorphosis occurs during the descent. Simple birds mingle with various creatures. The birds were contaminated. It is clear that for Bosch all that carries wings can be comparable with a demon or a bad force.
3/ Driven out skies, the rebellious angels are transformed into birds and insects, bellow they fall into the sea. It is current at Bosch to see marine animals flying or fish with wings. The explanation is here. The demons while falling change and those which fall in the sea will change into fish and other marine creatures.
4/ In the triptych of the Carriage of Hay, above the haystack is a group of characters. The hay, in this triptych represents the wealth of the life. This group is framed by an angel on the left out of dress blue sky, with the wings pale pink resembling wings of butterfly, which is in position of prayer, and on the right by a winged diabolic creature, in blue grey with the broad wings, whose head seems crowned of an ornament in the shape of bird's nest, its tail resembles that of a peacock, symbol usual of vanity. This demon plays of long and fine flute. Above, an owl observes the scene. It is framed by two black birds, which plane in the sky with the background. Night bird which watches for its prey in the darkness the owl has bad reputation. It always frightened the men
because its cry in the night seems to come from an animal much larger and dangerous. It is the bird of the wizards and witches. At Bosch as elsewhere it is always a bad sign and has a malefic connotation. In the Carriage of Hay the presence of the angel on the left and demon-bird on the right means that in the wealth of the life is at the same time the good but also the evil.
The left panel of the Garden of Early Delights represents a paradisiacal garden normally : Hebrew Eden (: pleasure). But one sees at Bosch that the birds and the animals are already corrupted by the fruits amongst other things… (5, 6,7,8,9).
The central panel of the Garden of Early Delights shows birds bringing of the fruits to the men. Men and birds are accessory. Birds or fish, fruits, man such is the course of the contamination in the universe of Jerome Bosch. (10, 11, 12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20).
On the left panel of the Last Judgment Last Bosch gives a history of the relation man-birds. (21, 22,23,24,25,26,27).
On the central panel the man is tortured multiple manners. Hieronymus Bosch breaks about all the taboos. The Church itself is not saved.
These is an alarming universe which seeks to terrorize the spectator by showing him all kinds of physical sufferings and morals. (28 to 46).
5/ On the left panel of the Garden of the delights, with far, one can see myriads birds to leave ground by what seems the entry of a surmounted cave of a bored sphere and high arrows springing towards the sky, (direct allusion to sexuality). This flight of a hundred birds makes several loops in the sky and turns over under ground by an opening located on the left. They come out from it while going, on before it acts of white birds which peck the ground, on the side leave the black birds which enter a surmounted broken egg of an enormous bird. The broken egg is the symbol of an impossible maternity and a sexuality directed towards the pleasure of the directions. Since always the man observes the behaviour of the birds and also their control in love. He uses certain allegories for a long time referring to the sexual life of the man. Certain turnings of the popular speech do not leave any doubts. Each one knows what man or unsteady woman means.
The left panel of the garden of the delights represents creation. Therefore, in the world according to Bosch the bird behaves a little like the bat remaining sometimes under ground and sometimes with the free air. They is false for a large majority of birds from a naturalist point of view, on the other hand, if one wants to remind oneself well that the hell is under-ground one sees well that at Hieronymus Bosch, the bird, like other animals of creation, is not a neutral animal but an envoy of the hells and Satan.
6/ Just in lower part one sees water birds, ducks, herons, which play about and nourish themselves in water. With proximity a tree is charged with multiple red fruits. On the line is held an astonishing scene. A bird is perched on a tube. In lower part fruits are which fell into water. It is the left panel of the triptych of the Garden of the Delights, it represents the Paradise and for this place it should be remembered that to touch with the fruits is prohibited.
7/ Still on the right on the same panel one notes that 2 birds are perched on each side of the central monument, on the right a peacock, symbol of vanity, on the left a bird of the same kind, certainly imaginary, but with the so long tail. In the center, in a hole, an owl is of which it is necessary to recall which symbolizes the evil and sorcery. One notes that makes 2 birds of them, 1 on each side, are perched on tubes which are planted on fruits, pearls, and moulds. These monuments which are on the left panel and the central panel of the Triptych the Garden of the Delights are powerful symbols at the same time of female sexuality, by the roundness, and of male sexuality by the arrows which spring in height. According to the logic of Bosch the birds thus sought to reach the forbidden fruits before the man does not taste itself there. That seems logical since according to the popular tradition the evil takes the shape of an animal (a snake) to propose an apple with the human ones.
However the term of original sin does not appear in the Bible. It returns to the account of the Genesis which reports how Adam and Eve transgressed the divine law by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of the good and the evil.
8/ On the right under the tree of the temptation which bears fruits, animals crawling leave water. A kind of salamander with 3 heads, reptiles, batrachians…
On the tree a snake is rolled up. A water bird is not well far from these animals with cold blood. Even today the man moves back in front of a small inoffensive snake. The Bible turned into to snake the enemy of the man. The snake threatens the human ones by its poisonous bite and can choke it by intertwining it strongly.
Its movements are quiet and, without legs, it moves on the ground by tortuous movements. The colour of the snake, the black, symbolizes the obscure forces of the evil. The snake represents a powerful negative psychic energy which remained in the shade, an antiquated energy as old as this prehistoric animal.
9/ In front of Adam and Eve and the Creator, on the left panel of the Garden of the Delights of the animals play about in and around water. A bird with 3 heads which symbolizes can be the trinity but also an animal whose nature is triple, a watery unicorn, a fish with wings, a duck whose body is a fish which is reading in water! In the universe of Bosch the limits between the species do not exist, the animals are at the same time birds and fish, and separation between the man and the animal, if a bird-fish can read dice creation, is not simple to understand. An animal whose species is double if it is able to read is already a creature close to the demon.
10/ On the left of the central panel of the Garden of the Delights, men and birds look towards the center where a round proceeds. Men and birds are close.
2 men overlap the birds. One wears a red hood, the other a transparent hood in the shape of water drop.
11/ A little on the right a bird gives a fruit to 3 men who seem famished.
Just with dimensions a couple dances in water. The dance is a simulation of the sex act. In this central panel Bosch approaches sexuality indirectly by using the erotic symbolism of the pink, red or purple fruits. It uses even the symbolism of the seafood. If the men receive the sexuality of the birds, which actually are the fallen angels, therefore demons, the multiple forms of sexuality are a way towards the damnation.
12/ The scene of the gift of a fruit by a bird is repeated. The men are increasingly numerous.
13/ For meaning well that what these men in this sphere do is against nature, the bird is represented perched with back !
14/ A duck gives a red fruit to a man stops open.
Beside the beings go on the hands one seems to have a fruit in the place of the head, the other of the wings of birds. Large blue sphere a hand leaves and cherishes the body of a fish! Bird, fruit, man such seem to be the way of the contamination in the universe of Hieronymus Bosch.
15/ What the couple inside this mussel does is clear. The pearls are the drops of a liquid which the spectator imagines easily. The symbolism of the seafood, more known of the population, is used to specify the symbolism of the red or black fruits, apples, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries. These fruits are besides in the vicinity to raise any ambiguity. In the triptychs which are intended for the churches Jerome Bosch addresses to the common peoples.
16/ This curly man with the dark grey dye seems very attached to his owl.
To the trilogy bird, fruit, men, here, Bosch adds the flower. What is logical.
As a man cultivated Bosch knows that an open flower shows its genitals with the eyes of all. For this reason Bosch places inside the open flower a red fruit. The bubble which is around the fruit and of the characters is an egg, that is to say a recall of the utility of sexuality with regard to the reproduction. It’s a charge of diversion.
17/ This scene is a summary of the history of the man revisited by Bosch.
A couple back with back holds of the fruits in each hands, a fruit tree is rolled up around them. They are capped with a surmounted fruit of an owl. Low on the right a black and blue bird brought a red fruit, certainly an apple, with a woman who seems to pay homage to him. For Bosch, the deposed birds, actually rebellious angels, therefore demons, brought sexuality to the men, in the form of fruits or of flowers here, to lead them to the eternal damnation.
18/ In the sky of the central panel of the Garden of the Delights circulate of curious attachments. This man is perched on winged fantastic animal whose body is that of a horse and the head that of an eagle. He holds in his claws a crawling animal which he captured. The man carries in these arms the branch of a tree on which a bird is perched. This representation insists on the complicity which would link the men and the birds.
19/ In the center it is a demon which overlaps a winged fish. At the end of its lance it transports a fruit. For Bosch the difference between birds and fish is quite relative. All and sundry are in contact with the demons.
20/ On the right several representations insist on the close connections between demons, birds, fish and fruits. The winged demons transport fruits but also of fish.
21/ On the left panel of the Triptych of the Last Judgment of 1480, in the clouds, Bosch lets guess the presence of the Creator. Around him 3 angels are which symbolize the Holy Trinity. In lower part one 4th angel is located between sky and ground. It is not known if it is falling.
22/ Low still 2 other angels face while flying. They have well an human body and wings. On the right a creature flies but it is difficult to identify it, it is too distant. Below birds are flying. Here Jerome Bosch points out that it is for him the origin of the birds. The birds are expelled rebellious angels of the skies which were metamorphosed in birds and insects while falling. Thus demons. Those which fell into the sea became fish, which, at Bosch, often have wings.
23/ On ground, with the edge of a forest a man tries to capture a bird perched in a tree with a large butterfly net. It is an enough naive manner to try to catch a bird… This means is not adapted at all.
This direct allusion to hunting insists on the naivety of the man who behaves rather here as a child.
24/ The man shows himself also conceited while trying to imitate the splendor of the feathers of the peacock by various artifices.
25/ The Boat of the saved hearts. This boat moves side opposed to the hell. It has with its prow 3 angels which sound trumpets. The faithful ones are gathered under a tent. As a sign of redemption an angel holds up a cross. The other characters drawing or climbing on the rope are the sailors, members of the crew. Even here 2 birds, a black and a white, symbols of the good and evil, supervise what it occurs.
26/ In front of, the line, a harpist exploits of his instrument. 2 men listen to it with knee the third is upright. One of the 2 men holds in his hand a white bird.
The artist is capped with an ornament showing a cross. If one looks at attentively one sees that in its back it has wings. It is thus suggested that it is about a divine being. If one considers what it occurs opposite (27), the concept of choice and free will appears.
27/ A couple is held behind a hollow plant which contains a round and dark fruit.
One 3rd character climbing what could be a petal but which takes the shape of a claw of bird to reach a round fruit located above. It is a clear allusion to the sexuality and the genitals of the 2 sexes.
On this panel of other allusions to sexuality exist. Another also obvious is this one.
28/ On the central panel tortures begin. This group of men is condemned to make a round around a simple bagpipe which has one pipe. Since antiquity the bagpipe is known in all Europe like in the West of Asia, it is used by the shepherds. The stomach of a ewe and a cut reed is enough to manufacture it. The bagpipe is the instrument of the people. At side a winged demon tortures human locked up in a cage of spines. All this is held under the glance of a bird perched on the musical instrument.
29/ Bosch seems to find a malicious pleasure to reverse the roles. Here it is the body of the attached harpist who is used as cord with the fingers griffus of a demon whose legs are the branches of a tree. On the left a snake is rolled up on the framework. The same kind of toothing-stone is also reproduced on the right panel representing the hell of the Garden of the Delights. It is always an arched toothing-stone, or curved, whose console leaves the body the instrument and form with the latter a curve, it is different from the triangular toothing-stone whose console and body are with right angle.
Cord or wind instrument (bagpipe, trumpet, flute, toothing-stone, guitar, mandoline) the music has something of cursed for Bosch. All that can distract the man (of god) and to enable him to have fun is condemned.
30/ This strange boat does not have anything human. It with the shape of a carnivorous fish head. Moreover it seems that demons are with the operation.
31/ In front of the opening of a reversed earthenware jar on which clamping plates are carved, a man tightens a money purse above a chart. He sat on a barrel, in his back a demon with the head of bird and with the wings of insect its hand poses on its shoulder. By considering the earthenware jar and the barrel it should be concluded from it that it is here about a business relating to the wine. Bosch denounces the speculators and the speculation, this man buys a vineyard to grow rich.
32/ It is a grinding stone which is used to grind the grain. 2 men draw on a cord to crush the other human ones! A demon with head of pig handles the whip, another demon insect is him posed on the chimney. A malefic creature with the long nozzle of bird seems to direct the scene. Jerome Bosch diverts the instruments of agriculture to make instruments of torture of them.
33/ Equipped as monks, of the creatures to the heads and the bodies of animals, therefore certainly of the demons, try to make sign a document with a man who seems to hesitate. One of the characters tightens the hand, therefore request something. As a member of the Brotherhood of Notre-Dame, Bosch knows the system of indulgences, the forgiveness of the sins, distributed by the pope and the bishops, against beautiful money sums. It is what seems to be denounced here.
34/ What it occurs under this tent confirms what there is outside. While a died animal, certainly sacrificed, is assembled on the roof by a demon using a scale, inside a man with the united hands, carrying the cap of a bishop, negotiates with the forces of the evil. On the table is a clamping plate, a snake and a batrachian. The brush which is drawn up with the background, instrument of the witches, as well as the feet in the shape of leg of bird of the woman in blue sitting in the foreground does not let plane any doubt. Into dotted it is also necessary to read: “ Do not rely on the Church ”.
35/ In this barrel of the demons to the appearance of carnivorous mammals, dogs or wolves, with wings in the shape of spines devour the human ones. The barrel is bored on the sides. Men are condemned to drink the liquid which runs out outside. This liquid makes them so sick that they expel it in all possible ways. Bosch does not break yet the taboo of the cannibalism but he approaches some slowly.
36/ These hybrid creatures are not demons. The demons always have a face of bird or animal and wings or a nozzle. They are men who were transformed. For this reason they preserved an human face. To show the transformation is, for Bosch, the best means of warning by using the fear.
37/ This demon with the face of an animal black (monkey or cat) is equipped with pink and has wings, semi-bird semi-insect, of colour blue. An angel or the virgin could raise the same colours. A book is posed in front of him, sign of being able. It is thus him which directs the things in this sector.
38/ This demon cook is sprinkling its grill before making it roast. One distinguishes from fire to the back, there is also a demon hidden behind the wall in the shade and another which appears with the window with a head of beef. The form clearly is recognized from what will pass on the grill. The cannibalism as a ritual practice which consists in eating human flesh is a social phenomenon observed in certain traditional companies. According to certain beliefs, the fact of eating the body of an enemy would make it possible to completely destroy the heart of this one, which would not find any more where to place itself. The cannibalism belonged to a religious practice. In central India, the admirers of the Kali goddess ate the body of the elderly and the patients, this act being supposed to delight their goddess, according to their belief. To Mexico, thousands of human victims were sacrificed every year by the Aztec ones to their divinities. After the ceremony of the sacrifice, the priests and the population ate the bodies of the victims, believer whom they would thus approach their gods. In the Western companies, the cannibalism existed forever as an institutionalised rite. On the contrary the fact of eating human flesh or of making some eat with the gods is synonymous with damnation in all the myths and all the religions well before antiquity.
39/ This infernal attachment is composed of an animal to the head of mouse, with ears decorated like wings and legs furnished with shoes. In cauldrons on the sides, of the human beings, whose sister, are transported towards a destination that the spectator easily guesses considering the means of transport and the proximity of the grill… A grey demon with the long nozzle leads the attachment using a whip. With the background a fish suspended with a tree makes the scene rather surrealist at our time, but of the time of Hieronymus Bosch they is alarming, because the fish was always the symbol of the Christians. In short the hung fish means: “ one will eat of the Christian ” what explains the presence of a nun in one of the cauldrons.
40/ This demoniac army advances in battle order. In front of a fish sword with legs of insect makes roll a barrel containing a naked man, behind animals with horns or winged, beings with nozzles of birds or in armour, a creature with head of monkey has even claws on the head as a helmet. In front of always, a creature carries a perforated shield in which it makes pass its lance. With a its with dimensions man is perched on a helmet of war carried by a carriage. It is a little anarchy, one knows neither where they go nor from where they come but this group expresses much violence.
41/ Here Bosch imagines a diabolic system used to nourish a demon. The wheel of a water mill, furnished with spades, is used to spit the human ones and the conduit in the mouth of a demon which devours them. Its pink cap is decorated of a feather
of bird, on his head a man is out of cage. Its body is similar to a bird, there are also birds in front of like with the background. At Jerome Bosch all that
is diabolic is of loan or by far connected to the bird. One can speak about bird of ill omen. The artist uses a thousand-year-old image coming from mythology
Greek, the same image explains the ogres cannibals in the tales for child, as well as the famous fabric of Goya.
In Greek mythology Cronos is one of the 6 Titans, become Master of the Universe after having dethrone his father Ouranos, it itself dethrone by his son Zeus.
Union of Cronos and Rhea are born the goddesses Hestia, Demeter and Hera, and the gods Hades and Poseidon. But, Gaia having informed it that it would be dethroned by one of his children, Cronos devours each one of them after their birth. However, Rhea manages to substitute a wrapped stone of napkin for the sixth child, Zeus, which it hiding place in Crete. Arrived at the adulthood, with the assistance of Gaia and its first wife Metis, Zeus constrained Cronos to restore his children.
42/ The Forging mill of the Devil.
Here a winged demon raising of large horns of stag and the claws, guides the men towards a forging mill. A blacksmith with a cassock is occupied striking of his hammer a poor devil so that it takes fine shape. I.e. that it puts the back and the knees to him so that it cannot be put any more upright. One sees behind the forging mill the result of handling. The men are squatted on the ground, only their head is in contact with this one. Of course a winged demon with the head of cat-like indicates the fire of the forging mill. The fact that the blacksmith is equipped as a monk is to be brought with the book the hammer closer to the witches who goes back to 1486, a handbook intended for the church and counting all the magic practices.
43/ For which rings the knell ?
A demon with the blue wings, semi-bird, mid- insect, is hoisting a man with the hands attached in the back to the top of a tree. Under this scene an enormous bell on which Celtic crosses are engraved is represented. Its leaf is an human body !
As from the 6th century, the bells play a fundamental role in Christendom, they are used to call the faithful ones to the office. From time immemorial, the bells were used of signal, but also as ritual objects being used to protect itself. Here Bosch uses a ritual object whose function is to announce or to call and makes an object of torture of it, therefore it diverts it into object of curse.
Under the bell with the foot of the tree, a demon armed with a sword gets busy with cutting. The bodies are placed on the blade of a gigantic knife to be output of pieces. The place is not neutral because the scene is held inside the valves of an enormous mould. Sexual allusion is clear and the artist means with the Christian spectator “ you will perish by where you sinned ”. Arms, legs, heads are on the ground in the vicinity, and even a decapitated man, in the same time one demon to the pink dress and head of bird precipitates the human remainders in a hole.
45/ This shoe with points is during boat of the saved hearts (25).
It is the shoe of the damnation hearts. Those which are inside are continued by an army of armed demons. In the rope a man is retained prisoner.
46/ Above in the skies, Christ is carrying the marks. It is surrounded by angels and saints. On its right-hand side a branch of bay-tree, on its left a knife.
The branch is used for glorifier and to sanctify the knife is used to punish and punish.
It is not a traditional representation of Christ in conformity with the guns of the church because Christ means redemption, forgiveness of the sins and mercy. On the other hand this representation is in conformity so that it occurs in lower part, i.e. that the Christ is avenged and that those who lived in the sin will be punished.
This confirms that the will of Jerome Bosch is to frighten and to make fear.
The Temptation of Saint Anthony. (1495).
In this triptych Bosch changes register. Of course it continues to denounce sorcery and superstition but it echoes also criticisms which at the time disturb the religious institutions. But it cannot directly thus do it uses parabolas, allusions, temptations of the saint are sometimes illusions but also sometimes are virulent criticisms social on the traffic and the trade of indulgences on the lack of morals of the members of the clergy…. This double language takes account at the same time of the religious censure but also of the enquiry…
Jerome Bosch denounces the same facts which will lead to the Reform of Martin Luther in 1517.
47/ Saint Anthony is in prayer the 2 united hands. He is surrounded by demons, a frog with spread wings, a demon with the long teeth holding a branch, another whose head plunges under the cape of the saint. A winged demon above overlaps a fish and transports another in the arms from there. The scene is a little surrealist but we know that for Bosch the demons can be birds, mammalian or fish, it is the similar one with same. The demons do not seem to disturb the saint who, probably, does not see them. The dress of the saint raises the cross in tau (of the Greek letter T) or St. Anthony's cross, in form of T.
48/ A bird (1) and a fish (2) carry a boat. The men seem to have much evil to control the ship. A fish (3) comes to devour the crew on the boat. The fish (3) evokes the impulses. A man is held in a position which evokes the madness (4). To the back a boat with an human body with back is attached (5). In lower part a demon insect holding a scythe (6) is pricking towards the ground or to plunge. The scene is diverting because it can apply as well to the air as with water. It means in short that if the human being and its impulses are sensitive to the madness and if the man can become insane, he is the same for the evil. Thus if the human being is insane the evil him also becomes insane. As the table relates to the visions of the saint this lighting is important.
49/ This scene represents a surmounted fish of a vault which swallows another of them. It advances thanks to a wheel which is a shield as if it were in war. Well before the cross the fish is the symbol of the Christians. Matthieu 4.18: At the edge of the Sea of Galilee Christ sees 2 brothers, Simon called Pierre, and Andre, her brother, who threw a net in the sea; indeed, they were fishing. He says to them: Follow me, and I will make you fishing men. Since then the Christians are fish and recognize themselves by this sign. If a fish swallows some another it is that there are dissensions in the church. The history retains that the Protestant reform is launched in 1517 to Germany by Luther, with the publication of its 95 theses denouncing the principle and the practice of indulgences, the same topic that Jerome Bosch knows and approaches in the triptychs. And here even in bottom of the panel. However well before 1517 of the tensions agitate the Catholic church. 1450 are the date of the invention of printing works by Gutenberg. Between 1450 and 1500, more than 6.000 works are printed. The direct consequence is that the ideas circulate more quickly in Europe. Already At the 14th century, the English reformer John Wycliffe (1330 - 1384) tackles papacy vigorously, denouncing the sale of indulgences, the pilgrimages, the excessive worship of the saints and the moral and intellectual level of the priests. To touch simple people, it translates the Bible into English and rather pronounces his English sermons than in Latin. Its teaching is propagated as far as Bohemia, where it is taken again by the Czech reformer Jan Hus. The execution of Hus, burned like heretic in 1415, starts the wars hussites. These wars precede the religious war which bursts in Germany at the time of Luther.
50/ This man is in very bad posture. Not only one arrow pierces the head to him but its body is used as place of pleasure against its likings. The position of the man, with 4 legs, symbolizes the depreciation of the person. It is possible that Bosch refers to a famous place at the time which the name would evoke this scene. Always it is that sexual allusion is clear. The door is located just where one needs it for that.
51/ On the right a bishop shows the den of iniquity to a cardinal and a monk. The cardinal has a head of stag the monk a head of bird. They are demons. Like John Wycliffe and Jan Hus, Bosch benefits from the topic of the painting to denounce the moral level of certain members of the clergy.
52/ On the left a demon with the human head and hair of bird, fitted boots, with a bird posed on the tail, plays of the bagpipe. This hybrid being represents at the same time the evil and the madness.
53/ In the center of the Holy panel Antoine, curved into two, is supported by 2 monks and a man with the red costume of which the face seems to us familiar. The same face is used in the Hell of the Garden of Early Delights in the right panel. It is most probably about a self-portrait of the artist, therefore of Hieronymus Bosch itself.
54/ Perched on an egg a bird is absorbing a frog. Young birds are leaving egg while on the ground of the crawling creatures emerge from the ground and move in all the directions. This representation is used as framework so that it occurs on the right. A little like the unconscious one in a dream situation, the artist called to the spectator: here you are in hell. For this purpose it uses the birds, which at Bosch are demons, and benefits from it to recall (presence of egg, life, and of the bird which is nourished, death), that the natural laws of the world always apply, no matter what it arrives.
55/ Under the bridge 3 demons with heads of birds and monkey, armed, come to seek notable clergy which has in the hand an indulgence or a forgiveness. But roof of misfortune one of the demons, the bird with the red cape whose hat is a funnel, carries itself an indulgence! This means that indulgences or forgiveness of the church are not used for nothing. Bosch enters famous “the quarrel of indulgences” which is directly at the origin of the reform of Martin Luther. An indulgence in practice of the Roman Catholic church, is a remission total or partial of the temporal punishment for the forgiven sins. It is granted by an ecclesiastical authority. In the Christian church of the first times, severe penitences are imposed by the priest or the local bishop on all those which are guilty serious sins. It is thought that the sins can be repurchased, at least partially, by the sinner, in this world rather than in the other. To repurchase its sins, the clergy forces to the sinner fasts, pilgrimages, scourgings and other penitences more or less severe. Gradually, the authorities of the church replace them by less hard penitences, such as prayers and of the gifts. With the Middle Ages, the granting of indulgences is the object of excess. The fact that they become the object of a true traffic or trade, and seem to become independent of any personal step of evolution is, at the 16th century, one of the causes of the rupture of Martin Luther with the capacity roman catholic, which thus gives rise to the Protestant reform.
56/ In top of the central panel on the left one can see a demon overlapping a flying fish, at his side a tree and, perched on this one, a bird with the long nozzle. Behind him at the bottom of the flames on the right and on the left an army which advances with standards red blood. The scene is taken again low where the army crosses a bridge to enter a village. Bosch undoubtedly makes reference to the many revolts and battles which marked the south of the Netherlands at that time. The dynasty of habsbourg has great difficulties of being essential against particularisms and identities of the provinces. Thus, in 1488, Maximilien Ier is made prisoner by the revolted Brugean craftsmen.
57/ In the center, always in the sky, Bosch a demon overlapping shows us a part with wings which, with a butterfly net, seeks to capture birds. This scene of the capture of the birds was already seen, the artist confirms the diabolic relationship of all the birds.
58/ Under winged demons the church is destroyed and the village burns. The population is in the street. The sky is on fire.
59/ In the center a first group approaches on the left. It is composed of 3 demons, a witch and an animal turned over hung to a wheel. The demon with the back on the left is in armor an armed wing of a sword leaves its helmet. In front of him a hybrid creature, with a red cape, advances, with on the head a broken vase which contains a flower. On her line a witch is held with the gloves of iron, it is capped hollow stock of a tree which has 3 principal branches, on that of the medium a hat decorated with a feather is hung. Its arc rests under its left elbow. In its right hand it holds a demon which it undoubtedly captured whose blank is bored of an arrow. This demon has the legs of a stag, wings and the head of an unknown creature with teeth and a broad language. Above them a wheel, used as a banner on which is posed a corbel, a human member, and the suspended body of a pierced animal whose head is not visible. This wheel evokes the torment of the same name. One suspected the witches of buying the remainders of human torture victims to the torturers to devote itself to evil experiments. The group seems to come to make an offering. With the Middle Ages, the woman inspires the fear of the men. The simple mystery of the childbirth justifies with him only the idea that the woman is a being demoniac, able to charm and of bewitch, to even compose of the various filters. The witch also represents the woman temptress, all the more threatening that the Church seeks to impose the ecclesiastical celibacy.
60/ This strange attachment is made demons, of 2 birds of various animals and a man in a basket which holds up a sword. All this evokes a procession of carnival. Carnival is the period of festivities taking place lasting the season which precedes the Lent. The word comes from medieval Latin carnelevare, which means to remove or withdraw the meat, the catholics do not eat meat during the 40 days of the Lent.
The coachman carries a mask of skeleton (of which the meat was withdrawn) and plays of a toothing-stone which carries on its pole a winged demon.
61/ This man capped of a top hat and equipped with orange red present in front of him a human foot. At its east coast posed its sword which hides a member out of wooden. It is understood that the man seeks to negotiate his own foot !
62/ In front of the boat a black demon threw its net in which fish are, an eel, a fish with head of mouse another with head of bird. Concurrently to him another black demon dress with of a grey hood stirs up with a long spoon future soup. Within sight of the scene one understands that present and future mix.
63/ The boat is the body of a fish in armour, having a tail of scorpion and armed with a sword. The bottom of the central panel especially consists of water and fish. Water represents the unconscious one and the fish are old and violent instinctive impulses, old contents and powerful prototypes. These are primitive forces that the man normally forgot.
64/ This scene resembles a lake carnival. It can be during sailor of 60. This attachment evokes the bird and the fish, it contains a prisoner who him also has an indulgence which is not used for nothing. The demon-coachman operates a veil ridge of a jellyfish and corpse of a skinned line. The boat trails a smaller boat containing a small child than a bird tortures. The destination of the voyage is without any doubt the hell.
65/ This scene represents a demon, wizard or alchemist, with glasses and its assistant, a funnel on the head, which are consulting a black book. Behind them a bird with the long nozzle niche in a helmet, its nest and its egg are located above him. The cape of the wizard is bored and his internal coasts and his bodies are seen. One can deduce from it that their research relates to the anatomy. At that time, for the church, any scientific research is prohibited and severely condemned by the enquiry.
66/ This group of characters is composed of a jug with legs, a flower with wings and in armour, of a wizard who turns the back, of a mouse which carries a witch holding in her hands a little baby, of a man with an apple on the head, of a horse and a bird in armour. Below a child with a soup bowl is on the head. This heteroclite assembly evokes the magic, sorcery and the obvious madness which rises from these practices.
67/ In the sky, on the right, 2 boats clash. Symbolically it is about the fight between the good and the evil. The good is represented by the white bird, the evil by the winged armour.
68/ This tower is in ruin. Animals, insects, demons and devils creatures are at its top. Let us recall that for Jerome Bosch all that carries wings comes from the hells.
69/ The spectator could believe that it is about a religious building but : flames leave the chimney, birds are posed on the thatched roof, the building crack a little everywhere, of the trees and the branches leave on the sides, bellows is even suspended on the one of it. Moreover, one human being, the united hands seems to prepare to jump in bottom or with being sacrificed, of the monks are in Indian file and a woman is used to them to drink, considering the barrel and the carafe it is certainly not water. It is about a vision of the saint but into dotted it is necessary to read: the church is sometimes corrupted…
70/ In lower part behind the windows a bird carries a scale, a stag has a monkey on the back. On the line one asks a servant to go up one of human which swims low. The clock does not indicate the hour but the signs of the zodiac! On the wood stem which is used to go up bodies of tens of birds are perched.
71/ 2 demons musicians approach the table in the center. The first has an owl on the head and a muzzle in the shape of face mask. It is armed with a short scraping-knife and carries a mandoline under the right-hand man. It holds in leaves a puppy sitting behind which carries a red cap. Behind him the second character is pressed on a long cane, it carries a lute to the belt. He seems uneven and blind because he clings to his accomplice in front of him. Its knee rests on a crutch out of wooden.
The 2 characters rig out long roughcast tails of pivots. Here a scene which still shows that at Bosch all that makes music is cursed or demoniac.
72/ Around the table in the center a transaction proceeds. The musician in black tightens the hand to receive a goblet certainly containing a magic philter. An enormous insect seeks to rise on the table towards the front. With the back a servant of colour holds a plate containing a creature holding up an egg.
The egg symbolizes the life. It makes reference to alchemy, old art, especially applied to the Middle Ages, centered on the discovery of a substance which would transform money or gold the most common metals, but also on the discovery of means making it possible to prolong the life of the men. The character who tightens the philter has snakes in the hair. This evokes Gorgones which is in the Greek mythology of the monstrous women whose hair is snakes and whose glance transforms into stone statue whoever crosses it. Gorgones are three: Stheno, Euryale and Meduse, most famous and the only one not to be immortal. At his side the other character who took the money has a crown evoking the branches and the sheets of a tree. Gorgones being immortal creatures and the tree, to the close contact with the ground, the symbols indicate that they are healers.
73/ Inside Christ is. It is upright, with an aureole on the head, it shows with a its with dimensions sculpture representing the Crucifixion.
74/ To the center saint Antoine, of a sign, indicates Christ. He shows also the true way. The spectator then takes conscience of the narrowness of the way. It is a expensive concept with the church: “ Enter by the narrow door; because broad is the door, and roomy the way which leads to perdition, and many are those which enter by it; because narrow is the door, and tightened the way which leads to the life, and very few are those which find it. ” Mathieu. Ch. 10.
75/ On this column are engraved scenes of the old will, into high Moise receiving the Table of the Law (10 commands) to the Sinai mount, then scenes of old pagan worships in the medium, a scene in bottom containing a tree and a fruit referring to the new will. “ Gold be in guard against the false prophets who come to you out of clothes from ewes, but which with-inside are wolves kidnappers. You will recognize them with their fruits. Picking one of the grape on spines or figs on thistles ? Thus very good produced tree of good fruits, but the bad tree produces bad fruits. A good tree cannot produce bad fruits, nor a bad tree to produce good fruits. Any tree which does not produce good fruit is cut and thrown to fire. Thus will recognize them to you with their fruits. ”
The Carriage of Hay. 1516.
With the garden of Eden it is a hybrid being which gives apple to Eve. (76).
The Carriage of Hay transports fortunes of the life, they are represented symbolically by the hay. Around the carriage is held the life and the fights to adapt the richness. In front of the carriage of the demons advance it (77) and lead the crowd of the men who follow it towards the right panel which represents the hell. There the things do not do without the same manner and that is not any more the ideal for the man. (78 to 85).
76/ With the garden of Eden it is a hybrid being which gives apple to Eve. The bottom of its body is that of a snake and the top that of a woman. One must thus pay attention to the hybrid beings at Bosch. The fact that the malignant one is of female sex is in conformity with the representation of the church at the time, this generated multiple witch hunts and 500 years of sexism and generally accepted ideas.
77/ In this triptych the hay represents the richness of the life. All that it occurs around the carriage relates to the life of the men. The fight for the richness of the life. If one concentrates forwards one account returns that in fact hybrid creatures draw the carriage. A wizard with a cassock whose members are branches, hybrid beings upright, which have heads of bird, fish, stag, monkey, of cat, mouse, of cat-like… Completely in front of a black demon carries like a trophy a cut human head. In bottom a creature with the nozzle of bird advances an arrow planted in the back and a sword planted in the arm. Not far from there on the panel of right-hand side is the hell. So demons draw the carriage representing the richness from the life which are worth truly ? It is seen that the designs of Hieronymus Bosch join mink of saint François of Assise founder about Franciscains. The minor franciscains or brothers is an religious order founded in 1208, by saint François of Assise in order to preach the Gospel by poverty, and approved by the pope Innocent III in 1209. Their rule of life is strict: nothing to have into clean. The Dominican ones them also professed the ideal of absolute poverty and, unlike the older monastic orders, refused even the possession of community properties.
78/ The man penetrates with the hells escorted by a group of demons. The black creatures with the back play of the music, like a diabolic brass band. The man upright on the left is turned over and looked at the demon with head of stag like saying to him: “where you lead me? ”. In front of, a winged demon the whiskers mouth and open seems to direct the group. A grey demon with the head of mouse and the blue wings of insect trails the body of a man lying. In bottom a bird observes the scene.
79/ A man carrying a helmet overlaps a cow. The sword of a demon to the long nozzle transpierces the body to him. It holds in its hand a chalice. All this is held under the eyes of creatures semi-bird semi-fish. The cow and the chalice evoke the concept of sacrifice. Out if the man makes sacrifices with the gods it is rare that it itself is sacrificed. The roles are reversed and that induces deep a faintness.
The sacrifice played a central role in many religions. The Greeks sacrificed animals (goats, sheep, horses, cows, etc), sometimes consuming part of the offering during a meal of celebration in order to establish the communion with the gods. To Mexico, before the Spanish conquest in XVIe century, the Aztec ones offered human sacrifices to the god-sun.
During the vedic period of the hindouism, the priests offered the human ones, animals and plants in sacrifice with certain exact dates. The former Chinese also practiced the human sacrifices and made offerings of pets and food to the gods and the ancestors. The sacrifice of animals was an essential and extremely precise practice of the Jewish religion until the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem into 70 apr. J. - C. In Christianity, the death of Christ on the cross is regarded as an exemplary and ideal sacrifice, offered for explate the sins of humanity.
The contemporary researchers tend to be interested more in the significance symbolic system and functional calculus of the sacrificial acts. Some regard the sacrifice as a form of nonverbal communication between the human beings and their gods.
80/ Sacrifice with torture the border is mean. Obviously this man was open into two, one sees his dimensions and his bodies which leave its belly. The green demon with the black hood which carries it breath in a horn. The birds look at. Music and birds all that for Bosch symbolizes the evil.
At the time an institution recourse to torture has, the enquiry. In 1252, the pope Innocent IV approves officially the use of torture to obtain the consents of the suspects. This procedure was hitherto foreign with the tradition of the canon law. The Spanish Enquiry is instituted with the agreement of the pope in 1478 at the request of the king Ferdinand V and the Isabelle queen. In December 1484, the Innocent pope VIII, by extending the officiating capacity of two monk between Cologne and Mainz, founds the charter constitutive of hunting for the witches. Two years later, the editor of Strasbourg Jean Prüss prints with great success the Hammer of the witches (Malleus maleficarum), a handbook intended for the monks and counting all the magic practices. Following this publication, the treaties and evils theories multiply, diffusing near the elites the idea even of sorcery. Two large waves of repression follow one another and differ in their width and according to the touched geographical areas. The first wave (between 1480 and 1520) made a limited number of victims and is especially the fact of the inquisitorial courts. Hieronymus Bosch. (1450-1516) is the contemporary of the large inquisitor Tomás de Torquemada (1420-1498).
81/ This fish mouth is swallowing human. A black snake slips between the legs of the man for showing well that it is the evil which is here with work. It happens that dreams the men of them fish and bring back to surface enormous fish which absorb them then. That means that the man is then victim of impulses violent and devouring. To be ingurgity by powerful primitive impulses is not an amusing thing for the man. That means that it is victim of a primary education instinct which it can neither channel nor to control. Psychological interpretation joined here the symbolism used by Bosch.
82/ Under this bridge a naked man, the men all are naked on this panel thus without protection and without defense, is attacked by various animals and in the foreground one recognizes a dog. It is surprising because it is known that the dog is a faithful friend of the man. But Bosch wants to say, here all that is familiar for you does not exist more.
The dog is a carnivorous mammal of the family of canine, it is regarded as the first animal to be domesticated. Indeed, since prehistory, the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) always shared the existence of the man. One generally admits that the dog has as a direct ancestor the wolf, which lived in Europe, in Asia and North America. It is probable that it is domestication by the Man of its wild ancestors who allowed the appearance of the dog as a species. The true domestication of the dog goes back to approximately 10.000 years. The first relations between the dog and the Man were to be founded on the aptitude of these animals with hunting, helping the men to nourish itself and protecting them from the predatory ones. Later, when the man is sedentary and learned agriculture and the breeding, the dog was used to him as guard of herd. In civilizations Asian, Egyptian, Assyrian, Greek and Roman, the dogs were faithful guards and companions, who accompanied the men with hunting and the war.
83/ For Hieronymus Bosch there is no hell without chaos and a certain disorder.
Thus the tower on the right is in construction, it is a building site. The demons use a pulley to descend the pieces of wood. Of course this operation proceeds under the attentive eye of a bird.
84/ The demons work. They take care of joinery and masonry.
With the back one guesses a lake where demons in the shape of bird and fish continue the human ones which swim.
85/ With the back the sky is on fire. In top on the right always the same image of a demon assembled on a fish which continues a bird to capture it. At the top of the building on fire a creature holds up a pole to which the body of a dead man is suspended.
The Garden of Early Delights. 1480.
In the turns with the back of the central panel of the Garden of Early Delights men birds and animals consort themselves sometimes in a dangerous intimacy. 86 to 95.
In the center of the panel is held a Sabbath which works towards a political end of the church : devilish the body of the woman. 96 to 100.
The hell is the end of the man but also at Bosch a violent social criticism of the religious institutions. 101 to 116.
86/ With the back of the central panel of the Garden of the Delights are 5 turns. In top of the first tower the men live a little like birds, perched in the branches. Either they seek to reach the suspended fruits, or they are in position of equilibrist. Here the birds are gathered in bottom on the left in a space which resembles a circular nest. At Bosch the turns always have a sexual connotation evoking either femininity, or virility or, generally, the 2 at the same time. The symbols all are clear we let to you decode them. In these turns the man is with research generally defended pleasure.
87/ In bottom of the first tower, with the back, hybrid creatures with the fish bodies have fruits on the head. They are laid out like an army and give these fruits to fish. Forwards men on horses wait before joining the round in the center.
88/ In water, in the foreground, a male demon play with a demon female. Both have fish bodies. Fruits float in water. On the bank a group of human forms a circle with, above them, a strawberry. On the right a group of man enters an egg whose shell is broken. These 2 images evoke a sexuality which is exerted in group.
89/ To the foot of the second tower of the men leave while going in water. In the foreground a man and a siren with the fish body, a lengthened man and a hind which seems to lick the back to him, seem to live in intimacy.
90/ At the top of the second tower men and birds seem to live in perfect harmony. They are surrounded by flowers and fruits. As at Bosch the birds are driven out rebellious angels of the skies, therefore demons, that means that the man lives in harmony with the demons, therefore in the evil.
91/ In the 3rd tower, always under the glance of the birds, the human ones play about around the blue central ball. They collect the liquid which runs out on the 2 sides. They are in sometimes lifting positions, and, inside the ball, the gesture of a man and the position of another are obscene. In a boat, in water, the men deliver themselves to the sensual pleasure.
92/ With the research or the fruits, the couples of birds and the human ones are consort in the 4th tower. Improbable animals are perched on the wings which constitute architecture.
93/ This bird with the long nozzle offers a red fruit to a group of human which tightens the arms towards him. The men are in a kind of bulb. At side a man overlaps a fish in water. Bosch seems to play to scramble the borders between the species. Hybrid beings having the characteristics of at least 3 species are with the background.
94/ The 5th tower on the line is mainly occupied by birds. There is little human on this lathe and a multitude of birds. Certain images suggest that the man dedicates a worship particular to the birds. This returns to the bible and the episode of golden calf. The Golden calf is the god of the tangible properties substituted for the god of the spirit. According to the biblical account, whereas Moise is on the Sinai mount for
to receive the Tables of the Law, his/her Aaron brother creates an idol at the request of the Hebrews, while dissolving their jewels, to satisfy their desire of a visible object of worship: the Golden calf. This episode starts the anger of God then that of Brace, which breaks the Tables of the Law of them. The choice of the image of calf would make echo, by devaluing it, with the image of former Persian divinities associated with the bull. For Bosch which diverts the symbol, the bird, the fish and the fruits would be the gods of the sensual pleasure substituted in their turn with the god of the spirit.
95/ Contrary to the others turns, bellow of the 5th turn there are not men but a group of monkeys.
96/ In the middle of the central panel, in a basin, are about thirty fair and red-headed women to the long hair. They have on the head is on the left white fruits, birds in the center or black birds on the right. Around the basin is held a round where the men overlap all kinds of animals and honour the fruits, the birds or the fish. It is a Sabbath. The origin of the Sabbath is lost in the mists of time but its deep roots are in antiquity. The Sabbath is related to the worship of the Greek god of the vine, Dionysos. This worship, related to intoxication, takes place mainly in the form of processions where the participants, the women especially, let themselves go to one is delirious extatic. The orgies dedicated to the god Dionysos, wire of Zeus and Sole, proceed thus. Under the control of a young priest personifying the god of the Vine, Fruitfulness, the Vegetation and Wet, the faithful ones of Dionysos are drunk, while gaining a plate which dominates the town of Delphes. Crowned ivy or branches of pine and dress of skins of animals, accompanied by a procession by satyrs, demons semi-human semi-animals, they dance at the rhythm of the bearing of the drums and the sounds of flutes, then sink in the ecstasy. In its extreme form, the followers deliver themselves to the ritual which consists in capturing and to cut up live animals in order to devour their raw meat. It is only later, under the effect of an ascribable perversion at a company which seeks only the luxury and the pleasures, that the attraction of the dionysiacs practices, music, dances, feasts, intemperate consumption of wine and plays of seduction, take the face of a masquerade of vice which places at the background the religious aspect. Adoption of the worship of Dionysos to Rome (under the features of Bacchus) made, indeed, degenerate the orgy of faithful, ménades and bacchantes, “ thrown into a panic”, which men join, in a sexuality of group. The night festivals proceed three times per annum and are only reserved to the women. They start to deviate when they are opened to the men : at this point in time they become true places of license and are the theater of worst excesses. Tite-Live speaks about it in these terms: “ All the crimes find place there ”. The bacchantes are the women of Thebes who are struck for the first time by is delirious dionysiaque. They form processions and hold an important place in the mysteries and the festivals celebrated in the honour of Dionysos. Dishevelled, the naked chest, dress of skin of fox, lion or fawn, the bacchantes dance and sing with the sound of the flute, the quadrant and the tambourines. They hold up the thyrse, long surmounted stick of a pine cone, ivy and vineleaves. One known as endowed them with a superhuman force. Their frenzy and the state extatic in which they are plunged would make them continue and lacerate animals to devour them. In everyone ancient, the bacchantes represent the vice, especially when in Rome, their festivals become mixed change, says one, in true orgies. Appear even of excess, the bacchante, female, hysterical, links itself in Dionysos in a return to the primitive instincts.
According to the tradition, the tales, the legends, the Sabbath is celebrated in a clearing, a moor, with a crossroads, of night in a deserted place, close to a source or a fountain, or in a place offering a topographic characteristic, such as a top of hill, a rock or a heap of stones, or a place known since prehistory, like a dolmen, or simply a large secular tree, always in nature and in contact with it. This dance, with paleolithic as in certain contemporary traditional companies, was to undoubtedly lead the participants in a state close to fright of the chamanic type. Starting from the Neolithic era, with the birth of worships related to the observation of the stars and their worship as divinities, the dance in circle, a torch in hand, fact
undoubtedly its appearance, but the two types must coexist, according to the ceremonies related to the periods of the year. The dance is a recurring and central aspect of these clandestine, rural and popular meetings. The Sabbath becomes the occasion of sexual relations and free relations. Undoubtedly, this evoked and qualified sexual freedom the orgiac one belongs to this festival as in any rite of the fertility and on any social occasion in a rural world at the time of the harvests, grape harvest, etc According to nature and the character of its participants, these meetings can by psycho sociological exacerbation and drifts to have known bestial perversions, sometimes possibly satanic, even criminal.
At the time of Bosch the church needs devillish the image of the woman and a not quite simply controlled sexuality because she wants to impose the celibacy of the priests.
97/ The owl night and cursed animal and the horn of the animal evoke the brushes of the witches, a man overlaps a cat, their pet. This group seems to celebrate the fruits and the birds. The men with horse evoke the centaurs.
In Greek mythology the centaurs are monstrous beings semi-men semi-horses, living the mountainous regions of Thessalie and Arcadie.
The centaurs were born from the union from Ixion, king of Lapithes, and one cloud to which Zeus had given the appearance of Hera. One usually represents them under a human aspect of the head to the belt, the lower part of the body being that of a horse. The centaurs are characterized by their brutality and their violence. They are said devoted to intoxication and the lust, and one often represents them in the procession of the admirers of Dionysos, the god of the Wine.
98/ Various real or imaginary animals appear.
The griffon is a legendary creature, represented in art and the literature with the head, the nozzle and the wings of an eagle, the body and the legs of a lion, sometimes a tail of snake. The griffon seems to be originating in the Middle East; indeed, one finds it in the painting and the sculpture of the former Babylonians, Assyrians and Persians. The reason for the griffon appears at the beginning of Christianity in the bestiaries, or allegories on the animals. They also appear in the shape of waste-gas mains in the Gothic architecture of the end of the Middle Ages.
The unicorn animal fabulous is equipped with a single horn twisted in the middle of the face.
At the time medieval it is usually represented in the manuscripts, in particular the bestiaries, it is described there under the aspect of a white horse provided with a long ivory horn, which, according to the legend, neutralizes the action of the poisons. The goat is not there by chance it evokes the satyrs who are in Greek mythology, of the divinities of wood and the mountains, semi-men, semi-goats. The satyrs were the companions of Dionysos, god of the Wine, and spent their time continuing the nymphs, drinking, dancing and playing of the syrinx, the flute or the horn.
99/ These 2 groups of men pay homage to the fruits and the birds. With the background one recognizes a dromedary, large mammalian ruminant of the desert areas of North Africa and the Middle East, well-known animal at the time thanks to the travellers and to the cabinets of curiosities of kings d' Europe, associating natural objects and works of art and which are the ancestors of the natural history musea of natural history.
In this round a great quantity of men are with horse. In addition to the references to the Centaur of mythology (97), the horse symbolizes the freedom of the man here. The domestic horses were introduced in Babylon about the year 2000 av. J. - C. and in Egypt about three hundred years later. These animals were brought in Egypt by Hyksos coming from the North-East of Syria. These Egyptian and Babylonian horses were the precursors of the fast races of Arab horses of the Middle East and North Africa. In most of Europe, first centuries apr. J. - C. around the XVIIe century, the powerful indigenous horses were used with military operations, the towing of heavy loads and as animal of bldg. the horse was always an animal useful for the man it enables him to move quickly, makes less painful work of agriculture, it makes it possible the man to effectively make the war and at that time also to transmit information, goods and to improve the trade. These men with horse are free, that they are conscious of what they do.
100/ The equestrian round is similar to a Sabbath which honours the birds, the fruits and even a fish. As this round proceeds around a basin containing only women, the political goal of the church of the time, devillish the women, to make some of the witches, to impose the celibacy of the priests is reached. But Bosch does not add any, it cannot. Bosch belongs to the brotherhood of Notre-Dame who venerates the Virgin. It cannot dirty the body of the woman without reaching the virgin indirectly. Thus it represents the men break the 1st command which is the same one in all the religions monotheists. “You will honour one god”. For the church god designed the man with his image. If the man starts to honour and to adore animals it opens the door with his bestial instincts (what is illustrated in the foreground of the panel) and it makes a transgression mortal. A disobedience which it expensive will pay in the right panel which relates to the hell.
101/ End of the man.
With the background of the panel a city in ruin is on fire. Demons are disseminated a little everywhere in the vestiges. A demon flies over the place and the corpse of a man is suspended at the end of a spade.
102/ The war.
It is the war. An army of demons to the black banner persecutes the human ones. The bodies are thrown to water starting from the bridge. On other bank they are hundreds with being attacked. The scene illustrates a timeless idea: the war it is the hell on earth.
103/ With the back the bodies of human are flaring. With before the men form a procession, escorted by demons with the multiple forms and birds, they are taken along to be tortured.
104/ Whereas with the back one hoists a man on a gallows, with before a gigantic pair of bored ears prolonged of the blade of a knife is used by the demons to cut out the bodies. The shape of the instrument means symbolically that those which are punished it are by where they have fault.
105/ On this plate above the head of a character (the possible self-portrait of the painter) Bosch makes turn of the couples the human ones and demons around a bagpipe. It refers to the round of the Sabbath on the central panel.
106/ The interior of the body of the character is a tavern with soldiers. A man sat on a batrachian. A man watches for the customers while a woman draws from the wine of a barrel. A helmet and a crossbow are suspended on the beams.
107/ More the share of the men and the women are here in very bad posture. Demons with heads of birds organize the torments. Although it is already transpierced right through by the sword of a demon insect to the ears in the shape of wings of butterfly it seems well that this man must be also hung. In lower part a man in armour is devoured by 6 malefic animals, 3 grey and 3 green. A demon overlaps a woman as if it were about a horse and he shoots at the reindeers. A man whose tonsure evokes that of a monk seems in great conversation with a demon. Here Jerome Bosch also questions the morality of certain members of the clergy but the speech is somewhat dissimulated.
108/ Difficult to imagine that one can practice ice-skating in hell. However it is the case! If all occurs well for the demon to head from bird with its arc and its arrows in the foreground it is far from being the case for the man. In the second plan the scene is read from right to left like a cartoon. At the beginning the man hesitates then the shoe a little starts to grow bigger and its hands are attached. With final the weight of the shoe made break the ice and the man finds itself in ice-cold water…
109/ Here are demons with the blue cassock and the insects which direct the operation. A bird in armour and with the wings of insect shows the scale with the man and asks him to go up. Another is in feature to agitate a cord at the end of which a bell is whose leaf is an human body. At least 5 demons have a blue cassock. On the left the head of bird to the long nozzle of the demon does not lend to confusion. On the other hand one can wonder whether the demon sitting on an young man reading is well a true demon or a monk… There is can be here a hidden social criticism and questions about the virtue of certain monks.
110/ At Bosch not of hello in the music. The musicians are tortured on their instruments. For showing well that they are cursed things two snakes are rolled up around the toothing-stone and of the mandoline.
111/ The type-setters are placed with the same sign as the musicians and moreover Bosch always turns them into ridiculous under the glance of demons and snakes.
112/ A Drum and wind instruments are used by the demons to deafen the music lovers.
113/ One does not know yet exactly at which point, but the church sees of a very evil eye science and scientific progresses.
114/ Because it generates violence the play under all its forms is cursed. One recognizes the charts, the dice but also the trictrac or jacquet, ancestors of the backgammon. The backgammon is one of the oldest plays of table. It is originating in Persia. The archaeological excavations carried out with Ur revealed that a primitive form of backgammon existed in Sumer towards 2600 av. J. - C. This play was particularly snuffed Greeks, Romans (who adopted it under the name of play of the twelve lines), of Persians and the Asian ones. One did not play in France with the backgammon but with the trictrac, whose name evokes the noise of the dice running up against the plate this play is sails very about it during the Middle Ages and the Rebirth.
115/ This bird, perched high on its yellow chair, is capped with a round cauldron. In front of him spreads a long white fabric. The white, the yellow, the tiara (round crown of the pope) all this refers to Rome in the Vatican and the pope. The bird is swallowing a man who arises then under the chair to fall into a hole. In this same hole somebody evict of the money while one obliges another man to vomit. All this refers to the system of indulgences, the forgiveness are sold by the church for the repurchase of the sins. It is seen that Bosch relays a criticism which will be at the origin of the reform a few years later.
116/ This sow, which covered the cap of a nun, or this sister who has L `appearance of a sow, is trying to charm a man so that it writes an indulgence to him. It tightens a feather to him. To side, a demon, more threatening, carries the inkpot and the case. With the back one sees a man trying to protect itself by posing the document on his head. That in known as length not only on what Bosch thinks of the system of indulgences but also on the morality of certain religious orders at the time. It is violent critical social system as a whole.
Last Judgment. 1480.
Transformed men, birds, demons, wizards, but also clergy on the way for the torment, such are the characters who populate the Hell of the Last Judgment of 1480. (118 to123).
117/ A bird insect flies over a tower. A man overlaps a rodent with the horns of stag. A demon with a white bird on the head overlaps a man. A demon prepares the gallows for an hanging. The presence of a wheel cannot reassure anybody. Among the means of setting to death invented by the man,
to rough-hew, hanging, decapitation, the wheel is certainly not one of most effective but certainly one of most painful. This means of execution appears in the middle of the Middle Ages, condemned to death, after having had the members and the chest broken is quartered on a wheel until dead follows.
The anguish on the wheel could last of a few moments to several days…
The sorrow of the wheel was not applied to the women.
118/ In hell at Bosch there are always villages on fire with far. Demons were in the debris and the characters wander without too much knowing where to go.
119/ In top the man who penetrates in hell knows that it will be humiliated and controls. One immediately shows him a demon with the body of cat-like which overlaps human. Of course the birds are on their premises. There is even a bird in bottom on the right which walks its small !
120/ The demons go up to the attack of a citadel in clothing sometimes ridiculous.
121/ A monk and a nun, plunged in a cauldron, are towed by a man transpierced by a sword, overlapping a cow, a cock on the head. These means of transport in known as length on the final destination of these members of the clergy but especially the image stress that the hell is also reserved to the servants of the church having faults.
122/ This tiny character a book with the hand, without trunk and runs on legs, is not a demon. It is human which was transformed. On the other hand this creature which is located between the bird fish and the insect is quite demoniac. She eats human. A head and members are on the ground around. It is about the notation symbolic of the man devoured by his instinctive impulses.
123/ The 2 characters of back have wings, a nozzle and legs of birds. They are demons. The character on the right fishing is a wizard. He captured human. A sword is posed at its side. One guesses the fate which it holds for its capture.
124/ The entry of the tower is populated demons which have animal forms. Except on the left where a bearded character beside a fire is. If one observes attentively one notices that its legs are those of a bird and that on the cross posed against the wall a snake is rolled up. The image aims at warning against the false prophets and with what can be dissimulated behind the parodies of the false faith.
The Temptation of Saint Anthony. 1495.
The Hell of the triptych of the Temptation of saint Anthony is the occasion for Bosch to practice the parody and even humour knowing that for him humour is always a little squeaking and even rather dark. (125 to 133).
125/ With horse on a flying fish, here a curious manner of travelling. For Jerome Bosch that means quite simply that this couple lives in the sin.
126/ With the background the citadel of the evil, attacks the citadel of the good. The citadel of the evil has a fire and birds at its top. The scene illustrates the fight of the good and the evil.
127/ In water a man fights with a demon similar to a dragon.
128/ This creature without arm has 4 toes. The device to help it to go is used for the babies. Bosch seeks to ridicule this man who was transformed and who wears the red dress of the cardinals.
129/ This woman is a witch who liberally pours with a demon a potion that it prepared. All this is held under the glance of a bird. Behind its black hood it carries a crown to the wings of birds. This demon has triple forms it is certainly the version of Bosch of one incubates which in the European medieval folklore, is a supposed male demon to take human form in order to misuse a woman during her sleep. According to the legend, incubates it, and its female counterpart, the succube, were fallen angels. The union with one incubates was to give rise to demons, witches and deformed children.
The principal Christian ideas on the demons come from allusions of the Old Testament to impure beings malefic or “spirits”. With the Middle Ages, Christian theology establishes an erudite hierarchy of angels, which were associated with God, and of fallen angels, or demons, whose chief is Satan. Satan is regarded as the first fallen angel. The demons became an element of the folklore a little everywhere in the world. Many has specific qualities. One knows in particular the vampires, which drink the blood of the alive ones, or the oni Japanese, which are responsible for the storms. In Scotland, legendary the kelpies haunts the ponds, ready to attract at the bottom of water the imprudent travellers. The popular belief in the demons and the evil spirits did not cease declining since the 18th century.
130/ It is about the triptych of the Temptation of Anthony saint. This woman should be there to charm the saint.. However this image evokes more maternity than the sensuality. It seems that Bosch (which belongs to the brotherhood of the virgin) has evil with that. The spectator can only wonder from which maternity comes. From where the precise details on incubate and succubes (129). Of a position of potential culprit, the woman transforms herself into victim.
131/ Saint Anthony seems thoughtful but not especially concerned by what it occurs around him.
132/ These men were attacked by demons during their meal. Bosch appreciates the droll details, thus a small demon hides under the tablecloth and an sausage is suspended on the wind instrument. On the table of the bread, cheese, a carafe but one recognizes also bays of juniper, used to scent white alcohols. It is a load against alcoholism more than against greediness.
133/ In general the small creatures at Bosch are the human ones transformed but here the doubt remains. A feather trims its hat, signs diabolic, it has a black tail. How its face and its eye are transpierced Bosch placed an eye backwards !
Last Judgment. 1450.
The central panel of the Last Judgment of 1450 is violent. Jerome Bosch uses images which seek to shock and which cause the dislike. The man is treated like goods and especially like food. He is driven out, cut out and put to fry or roast… (135 to 147). In comparison the right panel which represents the hell (148 to 151) is less alarming the men are tortured there by animal demons.
134/ It is a creature having human form which gives apple to Eve with the garden of Eden.
135/ With the background of the central panel, in the middle of the fires, one draws up a gallows. The men are continued, devoured by dragons and struck by demons.
Although badgered by demons armed with bow, guided by an angel, a man escapes towards the left.
136/ A bird blows in a wind instrument. A man is lengthened on a table, demons and reptiles are around him. A transformed man, with the red hat with wheels in the place of the ears and a long tail observes the scene. A grey demon, front, plays of the mandoline posed on its head, at its side is held a black demon. A creature close to a dragon offers meat, which one does not know the source yet, to a woman, around her body 2 snakes are rolled up.
137/ In lower part of the human body are suspended. 4 human heads are laid out on the ground. A man is attached to a pin on standby, another is roasting.
138/ This witch (with feet) or this demon, sprinkles the body of this man who cooks on the pin. One understands better which kind of food is eaten higher.
139/ One attends here the preparation of an omelet of a new kind. While this demon, with the legs of birds, makes fry human pieces it prepared 2 large eggs to supplement its work.
140/ This woman with head of bird is crushing human remainders to collect blood of it. The artist takes care well to add a human hand to the scene.
Bosch makes some much around the cannibalism but it is undoubtedly a required passage to frighten (or dissuade) the common peoples. The matter moralizer of work is not any doubt.
141/ These 2 demons with face of cat are obliging this poor fellow to drink the liquid of this barrel which one sees the origin…
142/ This demon with head of bird transpierced a man of an arrow and transports it as a hunting trophy. Higher one sees than the men are perforated and cut out.
143/ The demons cut out the men, lock up them in cages, fish them with nets and transport them in a barbarian way.
144/ A dragon spits of fire to make cook human in a barrel. A bird transports a man on his back like food. A demon with knee cuts out the bodies, those are surrounded by black snakes.
145/ To be preserved the bodies of these 3 men were spit on the branches of this dead tree.
146/ The demons are well equipped to slice the flesh. This knife is largely oversize.
147/ On the right, among the birds, a man was impaled. To the center of human are taken along by an army of demons to be sacrificed. With the back of the demons, with hammers, strike men as metal in a forging mill.
148/ With the back of the right panel it has so much fires which the place resembles a volcanic zone.
149/ This image evokes Sisyphus, one of the large torture victims of the Greek hell.
On the line it is human which is tortured. Certain images are cocasses and there is even an fire-eater.
150/ There is no hell at Bosch without birds. They are everywhere here. There are also black demons with nigger head but more especially men in distress which beg or which are tortured.
151/ In the foreground the men are in minority. Very often in bad posture, the body transpierced by arrows or swords. One obliges a woman to take part in a ceremony or a cursed rite that a demon reads in a large book.
The demons have nigger heads of monkeys or birds. Forwards one finds fish and the fruits responsible for the damnation. With the entry of the tower in the center that is held which seems the chief. Satan according to the old will. It has nigger a head, claws, a long tail. Its sceptre has the shape of a claw of bird.
The provinces currently forming the Netherlands were gradually gathered, by marriage, purchase or conquest by the dukes of Burgundy.
The king of France, Louis 11 is anxious rise of the power of the Burgundian ones. He thus ties many intrigues against Charles the Bold one, he encourages the trades inhabitant of Li2ege to revolt against him. This one represses rising savagely and obliges Louis 11 to attend the fire of the city.
Patient, Louis 11 benefits from the impulsive character of Charles the Bold one who undertakes a policy of conquests. By occupying Lorraine, it attracts itself the hostility of the Swiss Cantons. Beaten on several occasions, it ends up being killed under the walls of Nancy in 1477. At once Louis 11 throws himself on the Burgundian States.
The General states remove all the centralizing institutions of the dukes of Burgundy, by the Great Privilege. They advise in Marie of Burgundy, girl of Charles the Bold one, to marry Maximilien of Austria (family of Habsbourg), in order to be able to face the French invasion.
At the end of the war, Louis 11 preserves the Duchy of Burgundy, current Burgundy, but must give up the Netherlands as well as the County of Burgundy, Frank the County current, which pass under the sovereignty of Habsbourg.
As it is seen the area is not, at the time of Jerome Bosch, politically stable. Many wars and revolts animate the daily newspaper of the inhabitants of the area. When Bosch represents a burnt village or an army moving, the population knows what it speaks. She knows the horrors of the war.
The Symbolism of Bosch.
The usual bestiary of the Middle Ages uses the waste-gas mains, the dragons, the snakes to symbolize the evil and the demons. What is new at Bosch it is that it puts in scene animals close to the man, that the human ones know perfectly, and that it transforms them into demons. The population knows the episode of the Old will where the rebellious angels are driven out paradise by the angels and the archangels. By showing these cursed angels to fall from the sky and to transform themselves into birds, insects or fish, for those which fall into water, Hieronymus Bosch renews the demoniac iconography of the Early middle ages. Moreover as the man knows these animals because it them frequent daily it will be possible to frighten him much more easily. Bosch thus uses as frequently the demon-birds as the demon-insects. The representation of black demons to the face of cats or monkeys answers the same principle. Isn't the black cat the pet of the witches? Bosch refers here to the superstitions and the appearance, just at that time, of a hunting for the witch, instituted by the enquiry for devilish the body of the woman, and adapts her language consequently.
Various speeches of Hieronymus Bosch.
1/ The speech moralizer.
Dice 1450 and the first triptych of the Judgment Last Bosch uses violent scenes to frighten the Christians in answer to the question: after my death which can occur of my body? The scenes of tortures or cannibalism are current in the triptychs. The cannibalism is far from being an ordinary practice in Occident with the Middle Ages. If Bosch breaks this taboo is not to amuse but make fear. This language joined what about the church says on sorcery i.e. which the black ceremonies end in a general orgy where the wizards couple themselves with demons with then a great feast during which are devoured children put beforehand at ritually dead.
The human being hates that one regards it as food.
2/ The political discourse of the church.
In 1486-1487 two Dominican Rhenish, Sprenger Jacob and Henry Krämer, in Malleus maleficarum, the hammer of the witches, support the thesis of the plot satanist and the sect of the witches. Sorcery would recruit especially among the women. The witches accomplish night flights, they pay homage to the devil and are coupled with demons. The Roman church benefits from for devilish the body of the woman and to start again the question of the celibacy of the priests.
In the central panel of the garden of the Delights a round is held around a lake containing only women, like paying homage to them. This round refers to the Sabbaths of the witches.
In the various triptychs Bosch puts in scene of the witches.
3/ The social criticism of the religious institutions.
Jerome Bosch is humanistic, contemporary of Erasme (1466 - 1536) writer and Dutch scholar, considered as a precursor of the Reform whose writings will be put at the index by the council of Thirty. (1545 -1563).
In 1450 Gutenberg invents printing works. Between 1450 and 1500, more than 6.000 works are printed. The direct consequence is that the ideas circulate quickly in Europe. At the 14th century, the English reformer John Wycliffe (1330 - 1384) tackles papacy already vigorously, denouncing the sale of indulgences, the pilgrimages, the excessive worship of the saints and the moral and intellectual level of the priests. To touch simple people, it translates the Bible into English and rather pronounces his English sermons than in Latin. Bosch equips the demons with religious clothing, in hell it places a monk and a sister in a cauldron. A sow carries the cap of a nun. For which reason? And why do the demons which torture the men wear the cassock? Here a part of speech hidden of Bosch which the church does not want to see. Like Wycliffe, Bosch questions the morality of certain members of the clergy.
4/ The Quarrel of indulgences.
With many recovery in its paintings Bosch evokes indulgences which are the main cause of the reform of Martin Luther.
In order to complete the construction of the Saint-Pierre basilica of Rome, the pope Leon X grants, in 1515, a plenary indulgence (remission of the sorrows of a sinner) with very faithful which will make a alms with the church after being confessed. Dominican Johann Tetzel, appointed apostolic police chief, is charged to preach the sale of indulgences in Saxony and Brandebourg while the Albert archbishop of Mainz conducts the campaign of the sales. Their respective traffics scandalize soon the faithful ones: first recourse to simplistic and awkward sermons has; the second preserve for its own account, and with the papal authorization, part of the sums collected.
This countryside causes the indignation of the monk Augustin Martin Luther who calls into question the practice of indulgence: indulgence lost its direction first, the research of the hello by constraining conditions, to summarize itself with a ashamed monetary traffic and an easy solution of repurchase. Also, on October 31st, 1517, Luther posts it, with the door of the church of All Saints' day de Wittenberg, 95 theses in which it shows the danger of indulgences.
Last Judgement. 1450. Academy of the Art schools. Vienna. Website
Last Judgement. 1480. Groeninge Museum. Bruges. Website
The Garden of Early Delights. 1480. Museum of Prado. Madrid. Website
The Temptation of Saint Anthony. 1495. National Museum of Old Arts. Lisbon.
The Carriage of Hay.1516. Museum of Prado. Madrid. Website