Cosmic Canvas: The Garden of Hieronymus Bosch


'The Creation of the World', closed doors of the triptych 'The Garden of Earthly Delights' by Hieronymus Bosch. Art Media/Print Collector/Getty

Humans are natural cosmologists. We see this truth in our science, but also in our religion and art. So here's the triptych 'The Garden of Earthly Delights' by the legendary Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch (1450 - 1516), known mostly for his surreal hellscapes.

But here we see something less nightmarish: the world in its creation on the 3rd day. Populated only by plant life, this would be prior to the creation of animals or man by the Judeo-Christian God. It's so serene, so calm, yet colorless like some Greek netherworld.

Open the doors, of course, and you unfold the full triptych 'The Garden of Earthly Delights," complete with it's psychedelic vision of humanity's creation and judgement.

'The Garden of Earthly Delights' by Bosch.
Art Media/Print Collector/Getty

It's glorious. Click on it for a larger view at all the chaos and madness inflicted by humanity's creation. Now let's take one more look at the serene pre-human Earth in detail:

Detail, left door.
Art Media/Print Collector/Getty

About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.