Thursday 1 May 2008

Medieval Ontology Today: Garden Of Earthly Delights

I often find the comments on The Sun's message board contain interesting religious and apocalyptic visions.... the following Boschean images are snippets from a recent headline item, which I suspect readers will have no difficulty guessing..

1]This evil monster should be stoned to death, hung and left to swing or better still thrown to the tigers/lions and torn apart. He deserves to suffer after what he has done.

2]This guy's pure evil!!!! He even looks like Sadam!

3]I hope that when the time comes for him to die and he meets his
maker I hope he is cast into an eternity of hell and damnation.

4]This is the kind of sex fiend who should automatically be castrated as part of his sentence.

So constructing a narrative from the imagery:

we have...a criminal is cast into a pit of damnation. A giant knife first cuts off his testicles, he is then tied to a post stoned and hanged. He is then taken down and thrown to an arena of lions and tigers which tear him apart. another one is cast into the pit, he looks exactly like the last.. this cycle goes on forever.

I suspect most of the commentators are not familiar with Bosch, though they do manage to create a vista that impressively recapitulates his "Garden of Earthly Delights"

The American writer Peter S. Beagle describes Bosch's painting as 'an erotic derangement that turns us all into voyeurs, as a place filled with the intoxicating air of perfect liberty', which i think has interesting correspondences with the news item these commentators are grasping at providing justice for. The endless diagrams of the cellar architecture look like DIY manuals, for future interior designers intent on creating their own place filled with the intoxicating air of perfect libertinism...