Title

Bosch's Haywain Triptych: A Glimmer of Hope on the Road to Hell

Description/Abstract/Artist Statement

Very little is known about the life of the Late Medieval Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516), leaving room for varied analyses of his work. The Haywain, one of his secular triptychs, generates debate, as scholars attempt to decipher an abundance of unconventional enigmatic imagery. There is broad consensus that this triptych satirizes avarice and lust and predicts damnation without exception for all of humankind. While the Haywain lays out the origin and evolution of sin, from Heaven to Eden to Earth to Hell, this paper argues that it also offers a singular moment of hope in the love scene on top of the hay mound. There, a woman closes her eyes to the worldly temptations that crowd her and looks within to examine the state of her soul and contemplate the example set by Christ. The reinterpretation of this scene draws from popular theological and contemporary literature and provides the key to understanding the Haywain. In what might be his final work, Bosch depicts an allegory of self-reflection and free will, confronting viewers with both their morality and mortality, which is an objective shared by several of Bosch’s other major panels.

Presenting Author Name/s

Kim Hardy

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Anne H. Muraoka

College Affiliation

College of Arts & Letters

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Disciplines

Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture

Session Title

Art History 3: Matters of Interpretation

Location

Zoom Room R

Start Date

3-20-2021 12:00 PM

End Date

3-20-2021 12:55 PM

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Mar 20th, 12:00 PM Mar 20th, 12:55 PM

Bosch's Haywain Triptych: A Glimmer of Hope on the Road to Hell

Zoom Room R

Very little is known about the life of the Late Medieval Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516), leaving room for varied analyses of his work. The Haywain, one of his secular triptychs, generates debate, as scholars attempt to decipher an abundance of unconventional enigmatic imagery. There is broad consensus that this triptych satirizes avarice and lust and predicts damnation without exception for all of humankind. While the Haywain lays out the origin and evolution of sin, from Heaven to Eden to Earth to Hell, this paper argues that it also offers a singular moment of hope in the love scene on top of the hay mound. There, a woman closes her eyes to the worldly temptations that crowd her and looks within to examine the state of her soul and contemplate the example set by Christ. The reinterpretation of this scene draws from popular theological and contemporary literature and provides the key to understanding the Haywain. In what might be his final work, Bosch depicts an allegory of self-reflection and free will, confronting viewers with both their morality and mortality, which is an objective shared by several of Bosch’s other major panels.