Title

When Death Comes Knocking

Description/Abstract

The paintings of the Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch have been the center of extensive scholarship with the exception of Death and the Miser, which has largely been neglected by scholars. It is considered to have once been the inside right wing of a now dismantled triptych. This work shows an old man sitting up in bed as he watches Death peer its skeletal head around his bedroom door. The old man is surrounded by an angel and six demons, one of which is offering the Miser a bag of money. Death and the Miser is often regarded by art historians as a warning against avarice or as a now incomplete work on the seven deadly sins. However, viewing this work solely as a warning for the consequences of greed is an oversimplification and viewing it as incomplete ignores that fact that many of Bosch’s triptychs include panels with distinct scenes. The subject of this painting falls in line with the popular fifteenth century texts, the Ars Moriendi, which was written to help people prepare for their death. Its intention was to let them know what to expect and how to deal with death graciously. This paper argues that the demons in Hieronymus Bosch’s Death and the Miser represent the five temptations that come to you in your final hour of life, as described by the Ars Moriendi.

Presenting Author Name/s

Madeline Keller

Faculty Advisor

Anne Muraoka

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Disciplines

Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture

Session Title

College of Arts & Letters 1

Location

Learning Commons @ Perry Library Room 1306

Start Date

2-8-2020 9:00 AM

End Date

2-8-2020 10:00 AM

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Feb 8th, 9:00 AM Feb 8th, 10:00 AM

When Death Comes Knocking

Learning Commons @ Perry Library Room 1306

The paintings of the Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch have been the center of extensive scholarship with the exception of Death and the Miser, which has largely been neglected by scholars. It is considered to have once been the inside right wing of a now dismantled triptych. This work shows an old man sitting up in bed as he watches Death peer its skeletal head around his bedroom door. The old man is surrounded by an angel and six demons, one of which is offering the Miser a bag of money. Death and the Miser is often regarded by art historians as a warning against avarice or as a now incomplete work on the seven deadly sins. However, viewing this work solely as a warning for the consequences of greed is an oversimplification and viewing it as incomplete ignores that fact that many of Bosch’s triptychs include panels with distinct scenes. The subject of this painting falls in line with the popular fifteenth century texts, the Ars Moriendi, which was written to help people prepare for their death. Its intention was to let them know what to expect and how to deal with death graciously. This paper argues that the demons in Hieronymus Bosch’s Death and the Miser represent the five temptations that come to you in your final hour of life, as described by the Ars Moriendi.