MIR | Bon Voyage
What would the modern world population look like today if we had created different role models and power structures? In which world and social order do we then live? How did we interact with each other and with the flora and fauna?
MIR and Hieronymus Bosch, two stylistically different artists provide us with their pictures of people who shock us and make us dream and raise exciting questions.
In Bosch's more mature works such as the triptych illustrated Garden of Delights, which belongs to one of his main works, the artist develops a unique and sometimes macabre pictorial language with strong symbolic content and full of allusions. Religious and iconological traditions of the most diverse origins flow together in this complex picture. But the artist also takes up supernatural and esoteric themes.
Hieronymus Bosch, Garden of Delights, triptych, middle panel: Paradise, 220 x 195 cm, left panel: Garden of Eden and right panel: musical hell, both 220 x 97 cm, around 1490-1505, oil on panel, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid
Bosch's staged painting showcases a Renaissance-era penchant for original concepts and complex, encoded content, the full meaning of which could only be revealed to a restricted audience. But even those who were able to view his works had trouble fully deciphering the artist's images. And they still pose a mystery to art historians today.
The morals and statements in Bosch's works are often ambiguous. But human flaws such as anger, foolishness, greed, lust, gluttony, and others play a significant role. When interpreting works of art, it is often helpful to look at the time in which the work was created. In the case of Bosch, it is an age when people believed in the reality of the devil and hell. They were convinced that Satan would appear and that the Last Judgment would follow him with absolute certainty in the near or distant future. The drama of human sin and folly could only be understood by Bosch and his contemporaries as an expression of Lucifer and his henchmen, who were constantly trying to deceive humanity. Some authors reported that the prophecies of the apocalypse would soon be fulfilled in the world, with plagues, floods and other natural disasters coming.
In his pictures, Bosch also takes an interest in everyday human life. He expresses his disapproval of special estates and classes, criticizes swindlers (The juggler), vicious monks and nuns (The Garden of Delights), quacks and their gullible victims (The stone cutter) or the well-to-do man for whom his wealth is more important than his soul (Death of a curmudgeon). These are all topics that can be found in sermons of the time, proverbs and songs with a moral and didactic focus, as well as in satirical writings. The salvation of the Christian believer should not take place outside the world, but within it through honest living and honest work.