Garden of Earthly Delights


“The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch was one of the paintings created during the religious Reformation, which told a story.


“The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch is a triptych, and tells the story of the Garden of Eden, sins of the people, and being banished to Damnation. It is argued that this since this piece was painted between 1503 and 1504; the artist was more able to focus on his meaning because of the religious reformation. Before this time, it is believed that Bosch could have possibly been killed over having said what he wanted in his painting.


Martin Luther, who believed that the Roman Catholic Church was corrupt, led the religious reformation. Luther believed that the bible needed to be rewritten in other languages that people could understand. He also believed that a person could enter into Heaven without having to do so many good deeds to be forgiven for their sins. He thought that people could join the residence of Heaven by believing that there was a God and that his son, Jesus died so our sins could be forgiven. Luther wanted the church to be for all people, not just for the rich and well educated.

Painting – The Garden of Earthly Delights

“The Garden of Earthly Delights” was painted by Hieronymus Bosch. This complicated painting has three sections. The outer wings can close together to create a whole new painting. This piece tells the story of Adam and Eve to the payment of sins (middle painting) in Hell or Damnation. In the first panel, there are animals, birds, and Adam and Eve. The middle painting is of many nude people cavorting amongst each other. In the final section, it is dark and eerie, and depicts pictures of people being punished for their sins. When the outer panels are closed, it shows God creating Earth.

Painting and the Reformation

With the reformation of religion also came a reform in art of all kinds. Artist began to put more of themselves into their paintings. They were able to state their messages inside the paintings without being afraid of being killed for doing so. Bosch told his story in these paintings regardless of what the church would think of them, and in so doing, created one of his most famous pieces of work. With the changes in church beliefs, Bosch was able to show what he believed.

Since Bosch was a Roman Catholic, it is believed that he gives the lesson of people doing wrong and going to Hell, but when the piece is closed it shows God creating the world. Some believe that that could mean if we believe in the Lord, we will still go to Heaven even if we have sinned.


“The Garden of Earthly Delights” was a painting that said than every before. With the reformation of religion, many artists were able to create artistic pieces that said more than they were able to state prior to that time. There are many different meanings to this painting. It is all in the minds of the one seeing it, but one of the general conclusions are that without the reformation, Bosch would probably have been killed for this beautiful creation.