Nest of owls by Hieronymus Bosch

Nest of owls by Hieronymus Bosch

Looking at the pictures of Hieronymus Bosch, many owls came to my eyes here and there. Last week, I listened to a lecture on his work, which raised the theme of symbolism, and wanted to consider the Bosch owls closer.

For Bosch contemporaries, his paintings had much more meaning than for us. The creativity of Bosch abounds with different symbols, which bear for the medieval man quite definite information. The significance of many of them has long been lost, and even those symbols that are obvious to us can be interpreted in different ways: from a religious or mystical point of view. Despite the peculiar thinking

of Bosch, the Church recognized his works and did not consider them heretical. Well, I will not spread the thought of the tree, you can read all this in Wikipedia or on the website dedicated to Bosch.

As for living beings – basically, in the pictures of Bosch there is a biblical bestiary of “unclean” animals: a toad, a pig, a hare, a snake. And, of course, the owl, which Bosch depicted an owl in many of his paintings. Sometimes he brought it in context to characters who behaved insidiously, or indulged in mortal sin. Therefore, it is commonly believed that the owl, like a night bird, serves evil and symbolizes the ruthlessness and spiritual blindness of everything earthly.

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