Last Judgement

Jheronimus Bosch
1450 - 1516
110 cm x 98.7 cm
Inventory number: 
Groeninge Museum Bruges
Category A: Flemish primitives
15th century Last judgements
Religious scenes

The triptych shows the three chief motifs from the story of the end of the world. The middle panel portrays the Last Judgment, for which Christ appears in his apocalyptic mood, surrounded by four trumpeting angels and a number of saints. The lily branch and the sword are in accordance with his hand gestures: respectively upwards in the direction of the blessed souls, and downwards towards the condemned. The heavenly paradise on the left panel and that of Hell on the right show the already occurring condition after the Judgment. Bizarre and fantastic in the depiction of the blessedness and condemnation, the painting is unconventional primarily with regards to the content of the Judgment itself. The painter appears to have consciously omitted both the motif of the resurrection of the dead as well as the collection of the chosen. Christ appears above a living world that is monstrous in sin and folly, that is already a Hell in and of itself. The moralising meaning here is clear. When closed, the triptych shows remains of a crowning of thorns in grisaille, which originally ran unbroken over the two panels.
The typical style of Jheronimus Bosch is recognisable in the small figures, the bizarre and monstrous elements, the colours and the fine, transparent manner of painting.