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Bosch, Tree Man.jpg

8. Far from Equilibrium (Systems, Networks, Fluidity)


Image: Tree-man in Hieronymus Bosch, Garden of Earthly Delight, (c 1450-1516),

Part 1:

Slide 1: Hieronymus Bosch (c1450 - 1516)

Slide 2: Wayfarer, 'everyman' is making his way in an uncertain world. He appears to be a seeker; with limited choices. He is traveling the earthly world of material life, however, beyond the gate, another world exists, possibly a spiritual world of wisdom, penitence, and sacrifice or he could simply find more troubles, more dogs that bite.

Slide 3: Another Wayfarer on a path, trying to keep a dog from biting him, and despite a robbery on one side and a dance (to sounds of bagpipes) on the other, plus a gallows being erected above his head and a church spire far away in the mist, he heads toward a bridge to parts unknown.

Slide 4: The Haywain Triptych presents the fall from Paradise on the left panel, mankind being caught up in earthly matters, while the holy family appears above the turmoil, with God above and then hell on the right.

Slide 5: The closed panel of the Garden of Earthly Delight shows God (in the upper corner) in the midst of creating the world -- depicted as a paradox; round and flat -- and when he created plants but before he created animals.

Slide 6: Garden of Earthly Delight's first panel shows God creating Eve and introducing her to Adam. The triptych's central panel is an in-between place where it appears that Bosch depicts what happened when God said, "Go forth and multiply." The third panel may depict what life has come to in his day; that is chaotic, unjust, and immoral; Hell on earth.

Slide 7: The center Panel emphasizes sensuality, eating, sexuality, where 'anything goes,' no boundaries exist (and seemingly no sin or fear), only sensual animal energy and a vision of life without guilt or prejudice; a Carnival atmosphere.

Slide 8: This is an exotic and an erotic landscape

Slide 9: Humans and animals surrounding the central pond with women.

Slide 10: Left lower corner of the panel where figures seem to be eating fruit and beginning to acknowledge God's command (is this the expulsion?).

Slide 11: Right lower corner, figures are still playful and seemingly free of guilt.

Slide 12: The Garden of Earthly Delight Triptych was painted between 1495 and 1505.

Part 2:

Slide 1: Chaos: Carnival, Part 2

Slide 2: The full third panel with the Tree-man at the center and the King of this world -- an opposite king -- sitting on a toilet throne eating and dispensing with human beings.

Slide 3: Detail of landscape in the third Panel of Garden of Earthy Delight, a vision of Hell; cities burning as if to anticipate war-torn Europe in the 20th Century. Bosch's Hell “shifted the focus of evil from the demonic to the human” (Russell: 1990). Bosch not only envisioned 'Hell on Earth,' his demons are uniquely human individuals.         

Slide 4: Tree-man, whose feet are each in separate unsteady boats, and whose head crowned by a bagpipe, and whose hollow body is being entered by creatures who invite themselves; he looks back at us with despair or ironic amusement at being stuck in a situation he cannot extract himself from?

Slide 5: Hell is emersed in a dissonant soundscape. Bagpipes were considered dissonant, comparable to the ears with a knife protruding, they provide the metaphoric imagery for the disturbing clashing sounds of Hell.

Slide 6: In his self-portrait as Tree-man, Bosch seems bemused and astonished at being stuck in a situation he cannot extract himself from or understand. It is interesting to compare this to Durer's self-portrait of a large angle in a world filled with complexity that he cannot fully understand (see Durer's Melancholia I, 1514).

Slide 7: King of the Carnival of life sits on his toilet throne, eating and excreting human beings.

Slide 8: Butt Music

Slide 9: Peter Breughel the Elder, 1559 The Fight Between Carnival and Lent at the height of the Protestant Reformation.

Slide 10: Detail, King of the Carnival in The Fight Between Carnival and Lent is the fool who is king for a day. 

Slide 11: James Ensor (1869-1949) imagined Christ entering Brussels in 1889, (the year after he made the painting in 1888), where the carnival was center-stage. The Christ figure, the object of the celebration is depicted as incidental to the speeches given by the politicians, who dominate; Christ's arrival; it is a spectacle, that's all that matters!

Slide 12: Consider Goya's, Black Painting of Saturn, a reference to the King of the Roman Carnival, Saturnalia, who is Eating Cronus, (the Greek God (time) who is at the center of the Greek festival of Kronia.

Slide 12: Gustav, Moreau's painting, Oedipus and the Sphinx, 1864. Oedipus, by answering the riddle of the Sphinx, proceeds unknowingly to kill his father and marry his mother and thus, fulfill the Oracle's warning. The Sphinx gets the last laugh! 

Slide 13: Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi, sits on his toilet throne, the play opened and closed on December 10. 1896 and it has become a legend ever since.

Slide 14: Max Ernst, Une Semaine de Bonté, 1934, a kind of Surrealist Carnival of improbable events, where half man half bird creatures roam the world. 

PowerPoint, Part 1:

PowerPoint, Part 2:

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