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Hieronymus Bosch - animated

Updated: Apr 12, 2019

500 years after his death, the work of Hieronymus Bosch continues to inspire. His work contains fantastic illustrations of religious concepts and narratives. He is best know for his macabre and nightmarish depictions of hell. Today he is seen as a hugely individualistic painter with deep insight into humanity's desires and deepest fears. Wikipedia provides a good introduction to his work and enduring influence.

His most famous triptych is The Garden of Earthly Delights depicts the Garden of Eden on the left and the Last Judgment on the right panel. In the left hand panel God presents Eve to Adam. The central panel is a broad panorama teeming with nude figures engaged in innocent, self-absorbed joy, as well as fantastical compound animals, oversized fruit, and hybrid stone formations.

The right panel presents a hellscape; a world in which humankind has succumbed to the temptations of evil and is reaping eternal damnation. The nakedness of the human figures has lost any eroticism suggested in the central panel, as large explosions in the background throw light through the city gate and spill onto the water in the panel's midground.

This video is a fantastic way of engaging with the intricacy and depth of Bosch's imagination and expression. It is a class project animating the famous painting: "The garden of Earthly delights". Credits: Michael Couch, Fatimah Alghamam, Gregory Buchko, Cameron Dunn, Aaron Hohn, Sean Koepfinger, Cooper Kusbit, Nicholas Milliron, Jeremy Molinari, Jay Shaffer, Katie Smith and Jordan Thompson.

The Dutch design group: Studio Smack recently produced a contemporary version seen here. The group cleared the original landscape of the middle panel of Bosch’s painting and reconstructed it into a hallucinatory ultra-high definition animation. In their words:

The creatures that populate this indoor playground embody the excesses and desires of 21st century Western civilisation. Consumerism, selfishness, escapism, the lure of eroticism, vanity and decadence. All characters are metaphors for our society where loners swarm their digital dream world. They are symbolic reflections of egos and an imagination of people as they see themselves - unlike Bosch's version, where all individuals more or less look the same.

What the animation and Bosch’s triptych have in common is that you’ll hardly be able to take it all in, you can watch it for hours.

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