Saturday, July 08, 2006

Early Artistic Influences

As a child I was utterly fascinated by the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, in particular The Garden of Earthly Delights. My parents went to a great effort to educate the family and since this was before the invention of the Internet we had to use books :-). They couldn't afford expense tomes like Britannia so they bought "Purnell's Encyclopedia" which was one of those part-work magazines, which were very popular in the 70's and 80's. It must have taken them several years to collect and cost them 1000's of pounds, they even bought the proper binders. We spent many unhappy long hours copying text from these volumes to "help" with homework, who said that plagiarism was a modern invention?

Anyhow there was a great section on Bosch and I was utterly fascinated by the strangeness and perversity of all the "goings-on" :-) There really is some odd details in the painting, Satan, the one with the birds head always horrified me as a child, how could something have the head of a bird and the body of a frog? The theme of the painting is bibical and there is plenty of symbolism relating to the 7 deadly sins.

If you take a closer look you can see the following (source: wikipedia)
  • The bird sitting in the chair eating the man is supposed to be Satan himself.
  • The face staring out from under the dish holding the pink bagpipes is said to be a portrait of Bosch himself.
  • The woman near the bottom, under the bird's chair, in the clutches of a monster, staring into a mirror (which is also the rear end of some creature), is guilty of the deadly sin of pride (vanity).
  • The person under the bird's chair is guilty of the deadly sin of avarice.
  • The man nearby, is guilty of the deadly sin of gluttony.

So there's one of my early influences, probably explains a lot really :-) What are your early influences?

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