Hell, the altar of Voznesen. The right shutter by Hieronymus Bosch

Hell, the altar of Voznesen. The right shutter by Hieronymus Bosch

The right shutter of the triptych of Hieronymus Bosch “Voz sena”. The image of Hell is found in the works of Bosch much more often than Paradise. The artist fills the space with apocalyptic fires and the ruins of architectural buildings that make us remember Babylon, the Christian quintessence of a demonic city, traditionally opposed to the “City of Heavenly Jerusalem.”

In his version of Ada Bosch relied on literary sources, highlighting the motifs derived from there by playing his own fantasy. The right wing of the triptych depicts demons-masons, erecting a gigantic tower. This round structure looks like an infernal parody of the Tower of Babel, designed for convicted souls – this is why Bosch warns the human race. It depicts retribution for the various sins that unite the theme of greed.

In the literary fantasy “The Vision of the Tundahl”, created in the 12th century by the Irish Benedictine monk, the journey through Hell consists of a description of all kinds of torment, including punishment for the theft of shrines, all kinds of demons and beastly monsters. Lucifer and the rebellious angels are busy building a strange, monstrous structure, while the condemned souls of sinners suffer punishment and eternal torment: they are pursued by characters – the symbols of their sins. Against the backdrop of hellfire, flaming in the background, the devil masons are hastily finishing the construction of the Tower of Torment. It is intended for the souls of convicted sinners who accompanied in Hell the hay.

Bricklayers, written by Bosch, could be seen by him in his native Hertogenbosch – so vividly and believably they are depicted. One of the episodes – crossing the bridge – appears as one of the motifs and in Bosch’s painting. On the lift bridge leading to the tower, a dozen demons are tortured by an unhappy sinner, planted on a cow. Tungdal has to lead a cow along a narrow bridge, like a razor blade, to sinners who robbed churches and committed other sacrileges than is likely, and explains the chalice clamped in the hand of the Bosch character. Spread on the ground man, to whom the toad has digged into the genital organ, shares the fate of all the libertines. Under the bridge of the pack of dogs, having outstripped the owner, already overtook escaping sinners.

Hell, the altar of Voznesen. The right shutter by Hieronymus Bosch
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