central panel represents the Garden of earthly Delights, strictly speaking, which
is also known as the Strawberry Panel.
The original measures 220 cm of
height and 195 cm of width and the above presented copy measures the half of these
It is a false paradise in which humankind has already completely
given in to sin, specially to lust and heads toward perdition.
of different symbols, the deciphering keys of which can only be guessed, are crowding
this oppressive and eerie place in which foolery has taken possession of world.
are as men as women, all nude, white and black. All kinds of sexual relations
and erotic scenes are shown, mainly heterosexual, but also homosexual or onanist.
In addition, there are also erotic or sexual relations between animals, and even
A major element of the central panel is the lack of sexual
differentiation. The unique differentiation signs between men and women are
feminine breasts and male genital organs. It is possible that by this way,
Hieronymus Bosch would demonstrate that the whole humankind was involved in sin.
panel may be divided into three parts :
part , where we find five structures of dark blue and/or pink colour, the
foot of which is bathing in a great pond with an irregular but symmetric shape,
with a river divided in four branching.
where we can see an other pond, with an ellipsoid shape in which nude women bathe
and around which a cortege of miscellaneous animals is running with their riders.
part, which is crowded by numerous nude personages, in groups or by pairs,
next to strange plants, minerals or cowries or eating huge fruits. All the
fruits (cherries, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, strawberry-tree fruits, and
so on) are an obvious allusion to sexual pleasures. In the Middle Age, the
expression "gathering fruits" meant having carnal relations. But
at the same time, fruits symbolise ephemerality of this pleasure, as in a few
days they pass from freshness to putrefaction. Michel Mancini took
the liberty of painting feminine breasts more naturally than on the original where
their conic shape was lacking of voluptuousness.
traditional interpretation of this panel is that Hieronymus Bosch condemns the
lust world that he is painting and the responsibility of which lies with Eve designated
as guilty by St John the Baptist.
However, there are other interpretation
which divert from the previous one, considering that Hieronymus Bosch does not
condemn what is seen in this panel, but on the contrary, thinks that, for him,
it would be a positive and highly desirable world : The world which is represented
is a world of happiness, without pain, illness or death. Sands of time are
not represented (there are no child nor elders) and we cannot se anyone working
to provide for his needs by the sweat of one's brow. We are faced to a humankind
who eats the fruits from earth and is organised in natural structures.
It is the reason why W. Fraenger thought that this work is an illustration of
the religious ideas of the Adamites' heretic sect, thesis which today is the subject
Paul Vandenbroeck (2001) has alleged that here the Venus
Mountain was represented (31 Grial). It was known at the end of the Middle Ages
as the false paradise, which means that it would be "sinner and demoniac"
as in traditional thesis.
Juan Antonio Ramirez, on the contrary, preaches
that it is an illustration of Genesis, due to the continuity of the landscape
in relation to the previous panel. The central panel would describe the earthly
paradise as it was, according to Genesis, before the original sin :
(God) gave birth from earth to all tree pleasant to see and good for eating and
also the Life Tree in the middle of the orchard and the Tree of the Knowledge
of Good and Evil, And a river went out of Eden to water the garden ; and from
thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is
Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.
And the gold of that land is good : there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the
whole land of Coush. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel : that is
it which goeth toward the east of Assyria (Tigris). And the fourth river
is Euphrates. Chapter II of Genesis.
fact, in this panel of Hieronymus Bosch all kinds of fruits and trees can be seen,
as well, in the upper part, the four rivers of Paradise, Pison included, with
a strange construction with golden flowers and Gihon with a monkey colony, and
the two other rivers which have been located in Mesopotamia.
So it would
represent paradise such as, according Christians, it was created by God, not as
the place where Eve sinned, but as the ideal paradise what it should have been
if Eve instead of sinning had followed the orders of God :
Fructify and become numerous, and fill earth and dominate it ; you will eat all
plants which gives seeds and all fruits of trees which give seeds". (Genesis,
1 : 28-29)
the personages who appears are nude and do not feel any shame for it. (See Genesis,
2 : 25)
the top of this page, araound the picture, you have magnifying glasses. If you
click on any of these magnifying glasses, you will access to the corresponding
detail of the panel.
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of Delights Garden of Delights Hieronymus Bosch Hieronymus Bosch triptych central
panel pink blue construction building rivers fountains nude naked male men female
women strawberry strawberries cherries grapes animals fish birds penis fuck mussel
camel goat duck Prado museum Prado museum Flemish school Dutch school Flemish
Dutch Renaissance gothic style surrealist painting surrealism fantastic painting
erotic painting fifteenth century sixteenth century virtual Gallery painting paintings
copy copies reproduction reproductions oil canvas Michel Mancini commission master
old masters painter painters
copy on canvas of the triptych the Garden of Delights by Hieronymus van Aaken
known as Hieronymus Bosch at the Prado Museum in Madrid Oil copy on canvas of
the triptych the Garden of Delights by Hieronymus van Aaken known as Hieronymus
Bosch at the Prado Museum in Madrid Oil copy on canvas of the triptych the Garden
of Delights by Hieronymus van Aaken known as Hieronymus Bosch at the Prado Museum