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 1925 photo of Wongudan, an altar site in Seoul built in 1897 as a location for the performance of the rite of heaven. King Seongjong of the Goryeo Dynasty was the first to perform the rite, designed to ensure a bountiful harvest, in the tenth century. The practice was discontinued by later Goryeo kings, revived briefly in the mid fifteenth century by Sejo of the Joseon Dynasty, then reinstated with the founding of the Korean Empire in 1897. Much of the altar complex was destroyed during the Japanese occupation, and the gate and fountain seen here were also subsequently removed, leaving only the three-storey Hwangungu pagoda remaining.