Hear the haunting music printed on a man’s bottom in this wild Renaissance painting
22 July 2022, 12:49
Hieronymus Bosch is famous for his intricate and macabre visions of hell. But have you ever noticed this bizarre ditty, branded onto a poor sinner’s naked backside in his most famous painting?
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The works of Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch were frequently filled with allusions to religion and macabre depictions of the afterlife. And, as with any Renaissance artwork worth its salt, there’s plenty of nudity. Consider yourselves warned...
His best known painting, Garden of Earthly Delights (c. 1490-1510) is truly a work to be reckoned with.
Made up of three folding panels, the triptych is a chaotic smorgasbord of weird, whacky and wonderful artistic depictions that will really have you questioning, well, life (and afterlife) itself.
From left to right, the painting first features an idyllic and transcendental vision of heaven, where a cloaked God presents Eve to Adam in front of a chorus of animals in the Garden of Eden.
The central panel lies in between, a purgatory of sorts, with some frankly crackers goings-on added for good measure.
Like these ones:
Anyway, we’re not here to talk about the disembodied heads munching away at a giant blackberry, or even the couple having a great time in a mussel shell.
We’ve actually got a musical bone to pick with Bosch.
In the third panel, his vision of the underworld, there’s a special place in hell for musical instruments (thanks a bunch).
Loved by us for their sound and expressive qualities, to Bosch and his delinquents, these are little more than instruments of torture.
Hell-dwellers are strewn across the instruments, cuffed to the lute, strung up on the harp, and trapped in the hurdy-gurdy. To the right, a wind section features one poor, poor gentleman uncomfortably impaled on a recorder. We’ll call it the ‘glute flute’.
There’s one small detail that is easy to overlook. One sinner lies prostrate on the floor over a book of sheet music, beside a demon whose role, it seems, is to imprint music on sinner’s naked bums with his weird note-shaped tongue.
Here’s a closer look:
One musical genius has gone so far as to record Bosch’s devilish transcription, and it actually sounds pretty good. Give it a listen below.
Hieronymus Bosch's Butt Song