Thursday, 25 August 2011


Have a guess what this is supposed to be.

I’ll give you a clue. It is NOT the result of the shameful mating of a washing machine and a skipping rope, as I originally thought.

Any thoughts?

I’ll put you out of your misery. This is a contemporary take on ‘The Garden of Delights’. Yes, I do mean Paradise. Heaven. The Good Place.

Are you slapping your head now saying ‘Of course, why didn’t I see that?’

I didn’t.

I'll elaborate. This is a contemporary take on the fountain in Jheronymus Bosch’ painting The Garden of Delights (painted circa 1502).

I don't know about you, but if I were to die (at age 127, in full use of my faculties, still drop-dead gorgeous, after a rump in the hay with my 5th husband), I would expect, as a moderately good person, to end up in Heaven (if there is such a place - oops, my chances have just gotten slimmer). Now if I were to end up in THIS place, I would strongly suspect to have taken the wrong exit.

The reason for the city council plonking this thing in front of the Sint Jacobskerk (St. James’s Church) is that the building now houses the Jheronimus Bosch Art Centre. Jheronimus Bosch (also known as Hieronymus Bosch or Jeroen Bosch) being the city of Den Bosch' most famous son.*

I'll admit it, I'm fascinated by the thing. It's so monstrously quirky that it's actually quite fun. The contrast with the austerity of the church building couldn't be bigger. And if it isn't fantastical enough as it is, the fountain can also produce steam instead of just gushing water. Isn't it just the most absurd thing?

Plenty of people I know use other adjectives when describing it though.

* This doesn't mean that the majority of the town folk has even the slightest idea who he was. I could so join that programme Grumpy Old Women.

Photo of hideously cute fountain taken with iPhone, photo of painting nicked from Wikipedia.


  1. Looks like someone was doing some serious product testing in a coffee shop :-D

  2. I've lived in the darn city for about 17 years - NEVER figured out what it was... Can't say I'm overly impressed by the thing now that I know what it is... Give me Mother Nature any day over "works of art" like these... Haven't seen a work of art yet that can trump Mother Nature's creations! xxx

  3. Looks like hell to me. The painting I mean. Are you sure it is meant to be heaven??

  4. But Si: could also be bad case of indigestion?

  5. Re looks like hell: the left panel is supposed to depict the Garden of Eden, the right panel is indeed Hell. With a well-deserved capital H. Bit of discussion on the centre panel. Probably depicts earthly life and people indulging in 'delights' while alive (hence 'garden of earthly delights' - Tuin der Lusten). They may then later go to Hell for having enjoyed those delights?

  6. "could also be bad case of indigestion?" - blimey I think thats a hospital case if thats the result of indigestion ;-)

    Bet this painting scared the bejesus out of folk back in 1500's when they opened the outer panels.

  7. Yeah, in that day and age people were burnt at the stake for less than Bosch' fantastical creations. But as it happens, Philips II of Spain was a great admirer of his. Go figure!

  8. Phillip might have been an admirer but I bet his wife wasn't, can't see anybody being burnt alive on the right hand panel let alone 200, she would've considered that far too soft ;-)

  9. Yeah, could have been a case of 'Off with his head!!' if the man hadn't been in his grave for a couple of decades by that time ;-)

  10. That painting is amazing, I've always loved it.


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