sequence and simultaneity

In Hiernonymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, the triptych format creates a play between the panels. It subverts traditonal juxtapositions that occur within the same space such as background and foreground. The first impression upon looking at these framed panels is that of a visual chaos.There is simply too much to take for the senses. The overall image is not arranged in a manner that conforms to our usual predispositions and our understanding of the basic conventions of two dimensional art. Here, there is no apparent center, or central thematic to act as point of departure resulting in a narrative that seems incoherent and incomprehensible. So, to make sense of this seemingly cosmic space, the first step is often to look at the work,- which is fourteen by seven feet- in a modular way which breaks it down,yet loses some of the narrative power of the artist transposing multiple themes in which the study of the local may deceive from the overall.

"If we had to define Bosch’s art, it would be that he opted to depicted biblical themes, but placed them in surreal settings, and apparently injected contemporary social messages into them, revealing the social ills of his brothers, friends if not superiors. This is, at least, how most have interpreted Bosch. Bosch’s best known work is probably The Garden of Earthly Delights. " Read More:

“The masterpiece reveals the artist at the height of his powers; in no other painting does he achieve such complexity of meaning or such vivid imagery. It depicts several Biblical scenes on a grand scale and as a “true triptych”, as defined by Hans Belting, was perhaps intended to illustrate the history of mankind according to medieval Christian doctrine.

The triptych is painted in oil and comprises a square middle panel flanked by two rectangular wings that can close over the center as shutters. These outer wings, when folded shut, display a grisaille painting of the earth during the Creation. The three scenes of the inner triptych are probably (but not necessarily) intended to be read chronologically from left to right. The left panel depicts God presenting to Adam the newly created Eve, while the central panel is a broad panorama of sexually engaged nude figures, fantastical animals, oversized fruit and hybrid stone formations. The right panel is a hellscape and portrays the torments of damnation. ” Read More:

Henry Jenkins:Bosch is one of those artists that I have always had trouble situating inside any coherent mental map of the trajectory of western painting. I love his work but what makes them interesting are all of the ways they break from the representational structures one associates with other classical paintings of the period. He seems to look towards the work of surrealists like Salvador Dali rather than having much to do with the realist impulses that would shape so many of his contemporaries.

Increasingly, though, I am wondering if there might not be some value in looking at a range of these “eccentric” forms of expression side by side as I am trying to gesture towards here and see if we might identify an alternative aesthetic system — one which is more often than not associated with popular forms of representation and one which has to do with simultaneity of impressions or to go back to Eisner, “the shape of the page”. Read More: a

---Even more daringly, perhaps, “speculative realism,” and what is sometimes called “object-oriented philosophy,” has displaced (human) language's privileged status, in Michael Witmore's words, “as the mediator between mind and whatever reality exists,” and therefore “things in the world are granted full mediating power: their interactions with each other are as real as our interaction with them and with other humans.” Nevertheless, although reality may always be “unfolding with or without a human observer or mediator,” it can still be “gestured at or alluded to with metaphors or other forms of linguistic indirection.”---Read More:

Hieronymus Bosch banked largely  on the inconceivable idea of simultaneity; a  depiction of an abstract , non conventional, non linear veracity about the exceptional and fantastical nature of an exceptional experience. In order to create a represented fantasy that would over-reach, stun,  and dominate the scepticism of the viewer,to produce a effect that is almost implausible and science fiction,  he relied on a calculated dispersal of dramatic, horrifying, blood chilling instants that their viewers must attempt to assimilate for themselves, without benefit of nominal center of departure. It is like the a-tonal chromatics of Milton Babbitt that lacks a conceptual center. Bosch panels are a description which creates, as the background noise  of the phenomena it describes, a non-tangible, invisible or virtual   space of its own, so that what appears in it is not an appearance sustained by a verifiable  depth of reality that would underly it.  it is a vanishing autonomy that goes beyond the ostensible artistic depictions of violence. An aesthetic within an aesthetic.

Jenkins: There has been a tendency to see the introduction of framing in comics, for example, as a step forward in organizing the chaos of the page — with the resulting fascination with all of the wild experiments in framing and segmentation done by an early comics pioneer like Windsor McCay. But I have always been fascinated with the work done by R. F. Outcault on the early Yellow Kid strips. Here, the entire page of the newspaper may be given over to a single image (and some loosely affiliated text) which is so dense in details that one can not take it all in at once but rather must scan across it, slowly forming logical links between different actions which at first seemed unrelated, and thus working through the sequence of what must have occurred.Read More:

R.F. Outcault. Wonderful period comics by Richard Felton Outcault (1863-1928), who created Hogan’s Alley, which is considered the first commercially successful newspaper comic strip. It featured Mickey Dugan, better known as

Yellow Kid. Read More:

Most writers on comics have seen Outcault’s work as more primitive than McCay’s but what if we saw them as operating according to a different aesthetic principle — one which is interested in capturing the sensation of living in a city where many different things may be occurring at the same time at the same space and may only have a loose connection to each other, even if they intersect or interrupt each other at various points. Read in these terms, the goal of the artist is only superficially to tell a story or to lay out information for the viewer; rather, the artist seeks to create a rich, immersive world. Each of these works I am discussing here represent consummate examples of spatial stories…Read More: a

"The Yellow Kid's image was an early example of lucrative merchandising and appeared on mass market retail objects in the greater New York City area such as "billboards, buttons, cigarette packs, cigars, cracker tins, ladies’ fans, matchbooks, postcards, chewing gum cards, toys, whiskey and many other products." In 1896 Outcault was hired away at a much higher salary to William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal American where he drew the Yellow Kid in a new full-page color strip which was significantly violent and even vulgar compared to his first panels for Truth magazine. Pulitzer, who had retained the copyright to Hogan's Alley, hired George Luks to continue drawing the original (and now less popular) version of the strip for the World and hence the Yellow Kid appeared simultaneously in two competing papers for about a year." Read More:

Due to the fact that he had a gift for attracting publicity equal to his gift for art, Salvador Dali became so famous that the layman could be forgiven for associating his name with Surrealism to the point where it is assumed he invented the genre. He didn’t, but Hieronymus Bosch did, well over 400 years before Dali was even born.

The word “Surrealism” means “Dreamlike.” Dreams unfortunately include nightmares and very often Surrealists tend to veer off in that direction; Bosch (1450 – 1516) certainly did. When one looks at his work, it is essential to try to realise or imagine what it must have been like to live in those times, the fifteenth century, just when the world was coming out of what is ominously known as the Dark Ages. It was the period of transition from medieval Gothic into the era known as the Renaissance. Read More:

One critic, for example, has associated the 9/11 images with the chaotic but aesthetically overwhelming paintings of Hieronymus Bosch:

Images of just punishment, of hell and damnation, are deep and recurrent themes in the Western imagination, and images of the New York City crash site were framed by aesthetic archetypes of apocalypse that recalled the late medieval paintings of Hieronymus Bosch. Dust blotted out the sun. Day turned to night. People caught on fire, suffocated, and jumped to their death. Hysteria and wild screaming were recorded . . . and policemen were brought to their knees, and they died in abject confusion. . . . In the towers above, rich and powerful men and women . . . their sophisticated machines useless, and they died in even greater numbers.” Read More:

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