Bosch: The Garden of Dreams
El Bosco, el jardín de los sueños
M/A/D | Music/Art/Design
One of the highlights of the many events staged to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch, documentary veteran José Luis López-Linares’ wide-ranging inquiry into the painter’s most famous work, The Garden of Earthly Delights, is fascinating on many levels. A mysterious triptych that has had as many interpretations as it has had viewers, the painting—commissioned by Brussels’ counts of Nassau in the early 1500s when the power of religion was beginning to wane and capitalism was ascendant—represents, at one and the same time, a compendium of sin and redemption, a vision of Hell and an erotic delirium. But what does this unbridled fantasy, with its many encrypted messages, actually mean to say about the world and humankind’s place in it?
Luis López-Linares was given unprecedented access to Madrid’s Prado museum and the painting itself. He combines a detailed visual examination of the painting, behind-the-scenes footage (restoration work, the X-raying of the painting, etc.) and interviews with writers Salman Rushdie and Orhan Pamuk, soprano Renée Fleming, philosopher Michel Onfray and many others, all of whom discus the personal, historical and artistic significance of the picture. In so doing, López-Linares has crafted an intriguing, gorgeously shot film that extends a 500-year-old dialogue about one of the most perplexing and compelling art works of all time.