The secret self-portrait hidden in Bosch's 'Garden of Earthly Delights'

The secret self-portrait hidden in Bosch's 'Garden of Earthly Delights'

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'The Garden of Earthly Delights' by Hieronymus Bosch is perhaps one of the strangest artworks of the Northern Renaissance. Filled with fantastical beasts, birds the size of people and other-worldly structures, this isn't your typical religious painting. Made between 1490 and 1500 it is a triptych commissioned by an unknown patron. In the left panel we see God creating Adam and Eve, and in the right panel we are faced with the scene of hell, represented with dark colours, flames, and monstrous creatures. The central panel (pictured) is the most bizarre part of the triptych, depicting sinful temptations on earth. Watch our new film to find out more about this usual work.

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Did You Know...

'The Garden of Earthly Delights' is full of strange and interesting details. Perhaps the most bizarre creation is in the right panel depicting hell, where we find a creature in the centre of the composition with a human head and egg-like body. Nude figures sit on a table and drink inside his torso, whilst monstrous creatures parade on top of his head. Known as 'Tree Man', the art historian Hans Belting has proposed that the head is in fact a self-portrait of Bosch! The figure, and the rest of the work, was highly influential on the surrealist artists, especially Salvador Dalí. Explore the details of the work online at the Prado's website, by clicking the link below.

The Garden of Earthly Delights, Tree Man Painting by Hieronymus Bosch -  Pixels