On the work of Jeroen van Aken Antonisona, better known as Hieronymus Bosch, the audience for a long time constituted a definite opinion: “It is terrible.” Strange, scary – and they decided to forget. I remember when the stage art bright burst Salvador Dali.

Looking at the long salvadorovskih bunks and elephants, the audience scratched his head and said: “Oh, it’s almost like Bosch.” So strange artist appeared reputation “forerunner of surrealism.” Could it be? Let’s investigate.

We are so accustomed to realistic art that habitually think: every artist seeks to draw the world “as live”, “as is”. Meanwhile, for many centuries it was not so.

Take, for example, the Middle Ages. From medieval art, in addition to the art itself, still needed to be instructive, almost certainly – allegorical. As it was realized in parables, we are well present. And what do you know, for example, of this genre, as a European “Bestiary”, he is in Ancient Russia – “Physiologist”? Judging by the title, it seems to be about animals, but how about the animals.



Remember, in worship there is chanting: “upgraded, bright Orla, thy youth”? Do you know what it is? About the medieval idea that the eagle is updated from time to time. Allegedly, the old eagle talons are so long that they can not walk, and feathers – so heavy that they almost can not fly. And then the eagle rises into the air and the last effort flies to the sun. The sun burns all unnecessary, and survived the test eagle returns to earth young and healthy. And it is – just an ordinary story in “physiology” of many.

Medieval art, as you can see, figuratively. It is in all ready to see a parable.

Yes there parables – the text of Scripture medieval rhetoric was ready to read in three or four ways, understanding the same lines that literally, as an allegory, how moral, how character. When medieval rhetoric safely inherited Baroque, Russian rhetoricians of the XVII century so use up the whole book: interpreting Scripture passage that was read at the Liturgy in all four senses in turn. Read, for example, the preaching of Simeon of Polotsk – the end of a “lecture” brain neatly wrapped tube – and his contemporaries it was almost familiar.

Allegorical and symbolic manner to understand the text and illustrations, safely survived the Middle Ages. French, and then the Russian classical comedy successfully shared his negative characters “on the passions” that each convict is not more than one. Freaks is not very vital, but it was believed that more understandable to the reader. At the beginning of the XVIII century in Amsterdam by order of Peter I is a fun little book Simbola et Emblemata was released. Of the numerous pictures shown there (with a symbolic interpretation of) the nobles themselves recruited emblems. And at the very end of the century, Francisco Goya etched his “Caprichos”.


The peak of all games with allegories in Russia – it is baroque. For the world to this time, the scribe – a great puzzle game where you can play with the numbers and concepts. The Ten Commandments, the seven deadly sins, the five senses – by and large, the world – this scheme. As a result, what used to be depicted in the icons of the Last Judgment and developed in the European variations of “Dances of Death”, has become here in this image. Yes, it is an icon. It happens.5

So, the world – is an allegory, and the artist, his canvas Mixed symbolic and real characters, was once considered not a misunderstanding, and a skilled orator. Now again we look at Bosch.6

“The world is like a haystack – Dutch proverb says, – and each will take, how many will be able to.” However, the artist, as we can see, everyday scenes are not satisfied and again painted us a complete classification of sins. At the top of stack miluetsya couple, improper thoughts in their ears tells the devil. Greedy nuns haul hay from the foot of the stack, looks at them and proud fat monk authorities believe that everything belongs to them, and so … I wish to solve the puzzle may linger longer at the pictures and read the allegory to the end. In general, the classification, in something like a maze, which is higher. And the stack? He is almost nothing to do, it is simply an example of consumer, facilitating the absorption of the spectator morality. Oh, and similar examples at the time called the Eixample, and collected in the special collections, which were used during the writing of sermons.

As for the most famous paintings of Bosch – “Garden of Earthly Delights” – believe me, there is the principle of the same, just not all medieval allegories, we still remember.

That is so confusing, but it is logical, we have a complicated allegory rhetorical puzzle. No visions, no altered consciousness. In the end, this is not Salvador Dali.