Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, housed in Madrid’s Museo del Prado, has been inspiring artists for five centuries.
Here are some contemporary works that play off the Early Netherlandish painter’s rendition of paradise, hell, and the “earthly delights” that lie in between.
Vivid jewel tones, mythological animal hybrids, glitter, and rhinestones animateRaqib Shaw’s “Garden of Earthly Delights” series. So does his background; born in Calcutta, India, and raised in Kashmir, Shaw grew up in a family that worked in the textile industry. The intricate designs of Jamawar shawls and antique carpets appear in the turbulent patterns of his seascapes.
On soft silk, Emily Erb chronicles humanity’s evolution and decline, in a world where chimpanzees and baboons carouse with fetuses and football players; where pill bottles nestle in the palm of a severed hand; where books are set aflame while televisions and atomic bombs prevail. In Erb’s work, hell isn’t fantasy; it’s our reality.
Brooklyn-based artist Carla Gannis transforms the creepy cast of Bosch’s hellscape into the cute emoji characters that inhabit our iPhones. Witness the demon tattooing sheet music onto a sinner’s derriere and the emoji pig in a nun’s habit caressing a nude man.
Ali Banisadr, a Brooklyn-based painter from Tehran, reflects on earth, civilization, technology, and ether in his painting Motherboard, recently shown at Sperone Westwater. Its dense and frenetic spirit give it a distinctly Boschian flair.
Conceptual artist, theater director, and choreographer Martha Clarke brings Bosch’s painting to life in her production of The Garden of Earthly Delights. Intense and sensual, the dance enacts Bosch’s narrative of creation and the perils of succumbing to temptation.
Barcelona-based artist Lluís Barba introduces the likes of Kate Moss and Coca-Cola into his Garden of Earthly Delights (El Bosco). Barba’s cut-and-pasted figures take selfies, play sports, and even argue with Bosch’s own characters.
Bosch’s painting lends fashion a bizarre frisson in everything from the couture dresses of Alexander McQueen to Dr. Martens’s clunky and funky boots. For its Spring/Summer 2014 season, Dr. Martens has created a collection of boots, shoes, andsatchels, each inspired by a different panel of Bosch’s triptych.
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