September 21, 2008

Hieronymus Bosch Triptych and the Architecture of Bruges

Filed under: Uncategorized — sarah @ 10:39 am

Recently I went to the Belgiun city of Bruges. There I was instantly blown away by the medieval architecture. Unfortunately my camera was broken so I had to resort to camera phones and friends’ photos. The buildings are covered in lots of ornamentation which I long to draw; everything also appeared to have a double meaning and to be caught up in symbolism. Arts and crafts seem to have a natural home in the city and the carvings of the stone for the buildings seemed to reflect this.

Out of all the touristy things there, there was one thing I was desperate to do and that was to go and see the Hieronymus Bosch triptych . The piece is called the garden of earthly delights. I have a sort of love hate relationship with this particular artist as his pictures quite frankly scare me but the they are akin to some of the things I was once drawing and I find that the intricacy and detail of the pictures just draw me back again and agian. Now I do not actually have an artistic background education-wise but I have slowly been collecting little bits of knowledge.

In the art gallery/museum I patiently worked my way through the rooms until I fell upon the work naturally and even waited, examining other works whilst others gawped at the triptych. From the pictures I had seen of it I was expecting something massive, surely to fit just so much into it, it needed to be the size of a wall but no! It is not! It is more akin to the size of say, a cupboard door in a standard kitchin, and sits there in a display cabinet.

I was examining it in detail and was lost to the detail of the middle panel which represents earth, noting as many of the strange creatures as I could, then I moved on to examine the hell panel when I got a tap on the shoulder. The curator was standing there and pointed to the queue of people waiting patiently behind me! I uttered a suprised “Oh! Sorry!” and scuttled off. She seemed amused more than angry.

But the picture was haunting me – I longed to go back and examine it but felt that I had used my allowance up and was sad as I wandered the rest of the galleries absorbing information on Flemish Artists. I have to say I feel that whatever was going on in history at the time of these paintings must have been pretty dire. Just the symbolism and graphicness of the drawings and the fact it’s everywhere, even in the fabric of the buildings itself, made me want to investigate more and oddly enough it gave me a story idea involving conspiracy theories and vampires.

We went to the beer houses afterwards – it gave me strange dreams!

I only had a weekend there but I think a week would have been better as there was just so much I wanted to take in arts and crafts-wise.

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