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Hieronymus Bosch: The Complete Paintings and Drawings

Hieronymus Bosch: The Complete Paintings and Drawings - Jos Koldeweij, Paul Vandenbroeck, A.M. Koldeweij Where to start? Back in the 1400's and 1500's a relatively unknown Dutch painter named Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516) painted some of the most imaginative, esoteric, captivating, at times grotesque, and always fascinating paintings of all time. The written word will not do justice to the eerie, otherworldly creatures and buildings he conceived. It would be wonderful to know more about Bosch- to discover what drove him, or what experiences gave birth to his genius, but details of his life are sketchy. The real value of this book is simply the presentation of his complete works, with many larger-than-life photos which allow the viewer to appreciate the fine details and subtle visual jokes or comments he rendered. Many people are familiar with his Magnum Opus, "The Garden of Earthly Delights" (on display in Madrid's Prado Museum). In one sense, Bosch was quite normal for an artist of his time, in that his work is heavily-laden with religious content. What is quite unusual, however, is that instead of depicting Bible stories or Jesus and the Saints, Bosch likes to focus on hell and hardcore retribution for sinners. Check this out! It's hard to know whether Bosch was simply possessed of a fantastic imagination, or whether something else was at work here. Some of Bosch's body dysmorphic creatures resemble what is commonly seen in association with art produced by patients with schizophrenia.Alternatively, many of the half-human/half-animal creatures remind me of this sculpture by an artist trying to reconstruct hallucinations he had while under the influence of LSD.That might not be as unlikely as it sounds... "Ergot of Rye" is a condition in which the Rye plant is infected by fungal organisms. One of the byproducts of this union is Lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD! Outbreaks of Ergotism have been observed as late as the 1800's. When the infected Rye is consumed, the population basically trips out on LSD. The result is widespread hallucinations and all the attendant chaos you might imagine. Medieval ergotism may be responsible for stories involving witchcraft, as well as legends about faeries, gnomes, or other supernatural creatures.Check out this article!http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/faculty/wong/bot135/lect12.htm Curious sidenote: Bosch's art, and "The Garden of Earthly Delights" in particular inspired the mid-90's Metallica video for their song "Until It Sleeps". Compare this still to the above pic! In addition, the book features lesser-known works which are also deserving of attention, appreciation, and analysis. Esteban may enjoy this rendering of a trepanation (a puncturing of the skull to "relieve pressure" - a medieval treatment for recurrant headaches!)