Sunday, July 26, 2009

A master of visual horror

He was born a mere two years before Leonardo Da Vinci. Like the well-known Rennaissance artist, he painted. His works, however, could not be more unlike the gentle Mona Lisa. I am talking about Hieronymous Bosch, that master of visual horror, who was during his time, as firmly stuck within the realm of medieval superstition.

It is interesting to note how perspectives can change. When seen against the romanticism of the Renaissance, and the latter Pre-Raphaelites, the works of Hieronymous Bosch makes a poor fit. There is little beauty in the lowlands artists highly moralistic caricatures depicting mostly the wages of sin. He is accused by contemporaries of mostly indulging in the creation of grotesque monsters and chimeras.

Fast forward to the darkness that slipped in alongside the dawning of the age of reason. Consider Freud and Jung's charting of the dreams, nightmares and fears that survive deep within the psyche of mankind, no matter how advanced we believe we have gotten. Take a walk through the wild expressions that characterized the life of the Marquis du Sade. And study the high adaptibility of form and function that Salvador Dali called surrealism. All of these contain shades and reflections of the images that flowed freely from Hieronymous Bosch's paintbrush.

So, I ask you, was Hieronymous Bosch a primitive. Or just a little further ahead of his era than most?

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