Ascent of the Blessed rte

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Hieronymus Bosch, Ascent of the Blessed, 1500-1504
By SAI GONDI 

Hieronymus Bosch was known for his wild, imaginative paintings such as Garden of the Earthly Delights. However, he also produced numerous works seemingly more modest compared to his crazy creations. His primary subject matter is religious works, especially depictions of the afterlife. Ascent of the Blessed, completed between 1500 to 1504 was one of his later works towards the end of his life. This painting is simplistic in structure but complex in technique. Ascent of the Blessed is one of four panels that add up to create Visions of the Hereafter. It's clear his motives are depicting the post-death voyage into hell or heaven. Here, he portrays the afterlife journey from the mortal world into heaven or to God. Each dead body is gracefully escorted by a pair of angels through the clouds . Bosch has given his dead subjects life, gesturing as if they're thankful or excited.

The gloomy, dark colors represent the death surrounding them; however, this is contrasted by the tunnel of beaming light. Bosch depicts the passage to heaven as a solid structure. His off-centering of the passage balances the painting and heightens the allusion of depth. The fading light grey at the base of the composition shows the light casted from heaven. By varying the size of his subjects, the inward flow of the painting is easily identifiable and well executed. From Bosch one would expect his angels to be distorted flying mutant pigs or something along those lines, but the only untraditional feature on them is their varying wings. The somber greens, browns, and blues of the angels allow the nude figures to radiate, making them more celestial. Though not typical Bosch level insane, Ascent of the Blessed is a gorgeous breath of fresh air. 

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