Religion: Bosch & the Flesh

One of the great painters of all time was a somber-minded Fleming named Hieronymus Bosch, who lived in 15th century Burgundy. Like other medieval artists, he took most of his themes from religion, executed them for wealthy clerical or lay patrons. No religious artist before or since, however, has seen fit to people his canvases with such a mocking and horrifying mixture of vegetable, animal and mineral monstrosities.

Painter Bosch's versions of Hell are waist-deep in griffins, scarabs, metallic demons with forked tails, sinners whose truncated bodies are pierced by huge swords or impaled...

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