The Garden of Earthly Delights
is a triptych
painted by the early Netherlandish
master Hieronymus Bosch
(c. 1450–1516), housed in the Museo del Prado
since 1939. Dating from 1503 and 1504, when Bosch was about 50 years old, it is his best-known and most ambitious work. Bosch's masterpiece
reveals the artist at the height of his powers. The triptych comprises three sections, a square inner panel with rectangular panels on either side which close as shutters. The panels are painted in oil
, the exterior panels of the shutters being in grisaille
. The outer wings, when folded shut, show the earth during the Creation
. The three scenes of the inner triptych are probably intended to be read chronologically from left to right. The left panel depicts God presenting to Adam
the newly created Eve
. The central panel is a broad panorama of sexually engaged nude figures, fantastical animals, oversized and gorged fruit, and hybrid stone formations. The right panel is a hellscape and portrays the torments of damnation
. Art historians
and critics frequently interpret the painting as a didactic warning on the perils of life's temptations. American writer Peter S. Beagle
describes it as an "erotic derangement that turns us all into voyeurs, a place filled with the intoxicating air of perfect liberty".
A portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni, the daughter in law of Giovanni Tornabuoni. She was a member of the Albizzi family, who were rivals of the Medici and Alberti families, and were at the centre of Florentine oligarchy starting from 1382 in the reaction that followed the Ciompi revolt. However, after Cosimo de' Medici returned from exile in 1434 (arranged by Rinaldo degli Albizzi) and regained power, he in turn exiled all but one of the Albizzis from Florence. This painting was done around 1490, long after the Albizzis' fall from grace.