Blog #1 Renaissance


          I was drawn to the Northern Renaissance painting “Christ in Lambo” by Hieronymus Bosch. This oil painting was created in about 1575, probably in the Netherlands [1]. The painting represents how Bosch thought of Hell. It tells a story about how Christ went into Limbo “to rescue the souls of the righteous who lived before his time” [1]. People who were in this hellish area were in the in-between state of Heaven and Hell that was set before Christ was born. Non believers soon began to ask: “Whence is he, so strong, so terrible, so splendid, so noble? . . . Who then is this, who comes to our gates so boldly, and not only has no fear of our torments but also frees others from our chains?”- Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend, about 1260 [1].

          Bosch has many works of art that dealt with hell. Another famous piece is “The Seven Deadly Sins and the Last Four Things” which was created around 1500 in Madrid. This piece represents the seven sins that man can do to go to Hell: wrath, greed, envy, gluttony, sloth, lust, and pride [2]. Around the “sin” wheel, there is four outer circles that detail the death of the sinner, Judgment, Hell and Glory [2]. In the middle of the “sin” wheel is the eye of Christ. Bosch painted about Heaven and Hell, saints, hermits, the Passion of Christ, sin and punishment.

Bosch’s art work was far from the Humanistic movement that was going on during this time. Other artist of Renaissance era celebrated the human body and their perfections. Humans were posed as beauty creatures. Bosch did quiet the opposite. He painted people in mutated states, with demon and beastly like figures.

Bosch has a unique style of painting. He took a step out from the norm. I think that this is why I enjoy his work the most. He was definitely not a normal painter. During his time, most artist would paint about happy, religious things. Most painted about the good that happened after death but Bosch painted these demented things to demonstrate that you will have to pay for your sins during the after life. His paintings were not cheery. In fact, there were about evil spirits of the Middle Ages, and witchcraft. Although they were not the paintings of the era they sure were interesting and caught the eye of many people, including myself.


5 thoughts on “Blog #1 Renaissance

  1. I greatly appreciate the work of Bosch as well. The more common representation of religion, hell and various topics is very positive. I feel it is also naive. Bosch brings a realistic approach to his beliefs, and a possible alternative to what the churches teachings are. I like that you brought in more than one piece of art of his, it strengthens your opinion. I agree that his paintings are not a very good representation of Humanism, but I did not realize they were about witch craft.
    When I read about his paintings, I had thought they were about religious teachings, simply an alternative to them. That the grotesque appearance was an earthly result of sinning. A hell on earth.

  2. What is very interesting about Bosch is that while other Christian paintings deal heavily in symbolism (like “Knight, Death, and the Devil”…anyone know how to put use italics in comments??), Bosch seems to be very straightforward in his paintings. He doesn’t symbolize demons, the devil, and sins–he actually portrays them as we humans would imagine them to be. For instance, he doesn’t use a snake, dragon, or other kind of serpent to symbolize demons, he actually paints demons how we generally accept they would look like! It must have been very scary in his day to see his paintings, in stark contrast to the other, ‘kinder’ Christian paintings of the era.

    I’m not a very ‘artsy’ person. I don’t often look at paintings, or actively seek out portraits or paintings to just sit and analyze. That said, I can appreciate a good painting when I see it, and I can appreciate the work an artist puts into a piece, even if I don’t particularly enjoy it. The one you showed (and other works of Bosch I’ve seen so far), I do like. I find them interesting, and as a Christian myself, I must say that his representation of hell can be quite scary.

    Personally, I’ll admit I never even knew who Bosch was before this class. I could say the same about almost all of the artists we’ve been introduced to thus far, except for the superstars such as Leonardo Da Vinci or Michelangelo. Did you follow the arts before this class?

  3. No actually, I don’t know much about art either. I am very into photographs tho, but mostly because I am really into Film photography and I am very good at it. But as for painting… Nope. I can’t even draw a stick figure.

  4. From the definition of humanism in the renaissance I think Bosch is a great example of Northern Renaissance humanism. Although the Italians and earlier humanist thinkers of the Renaissance focused on human beauty as the epitome of humanity, humanism evolved to focus more on independent thought and the realities of human emotions and activities. The first painting you depict here in your blog is a wonderful representation of the relationship of humanists to the religious environment in which they were immersed. It reminds me of Dante’s “Inferno.”

  5. What an interesting choice. Very busy and nothing that I would have chosen, although I would spend a while looking at it. Reminds me a little of the “I SPY” books in elementary school. Seems as if there is so much to it and not enough time to look at it. Well-written blog, great job!

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