The Nature of The Garden of Earthly Delights.

Essay by KEEBLER100University, Master'sA+, March 2005

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Jeffery L. Wright

Humanities 540

Professor Pat Gamon

23 February 2005

        The Nature of The Garden of Earthly Delights.

        Very little is known about the great artist

Hieronymus Bosch and even less about his painting The

Garden of Earthly Delights. Bosch has intrigued many art

historians for a number of reasons. First, many have been

unable to fit his life and his work into some sort of

understandable frame work. Second, his amazing imagery of

his most famous work The Garden of Earthly Delights has

fueled rumors of some connection with heretical sects.

Laurinda S. Dixon's' article on Bosch's The Garden of

Earthly Delights advocates that this painting was primarily

influenced by alchemy.

        Laurinda S. Dixon provides and interesting argument

for her thesis. She believes that Bosch's painting fits

comfortable into fifteenth century definition of alchemy.

Furthermore, she also contends that it is reasonable to

suggest that Bosch's and other fifteenth century

illustrators of scientific texts, being confronted with

turning words and concepts into pictures, reached the same

results but at different times.

To this end, it is

impossible to ignore the influence of sixteenth century

alchemical works by early authors that Bosch was familiar


In addition, she further speculates that the confusion

surrounding The Garden of Earthly Delights and its

relationship to alchemy lies in separating medieval alchemy

from Rosicrucianism, a philosophy that appropriated some of

the mystical elements of alchemy, but none of the

practical ones.

Dixon may have indeed been on the right track inferring

that Bosch was looking into alchemy as part of a structure

for his painting but some feel that her research is one

sided. In Art & Ideas William Fleming suggest that other

scholars have .... "ransacked the bible; lives of old the

old saints as told in Varagine's Golden Legend;...