Haywain (c. 1485-90) by Hieronymous Bosch

Haywain - Hieronymous Bosch - c. 1485-90

Artwork Information

ArtistHieronymous Bosch
Datec. 1485-90
MediumOil on panel (triptych)
Dimensions135 × 200 cm
Current LocationMuseo del Prado, Madrid

About Haywain

The Haywain Triptych is a remarkable Christian artwork painted by the Flemish Renaissance artist Hieronymus Bosch c. 1485-90. The centerpiece of this triptych captures mankind in sin while demonstrating its unpleasant consequences. The four-panel painting portrays an apocalyptic prophesy of the world’s impending judgment, Hell and Heaven.

This famous piece of art measures at 135 x 200cm for the main panel and 147 x 66cm for the two smaller wings, made from oils on oak panels. Depicted from left to right is Paradise, where humans fell from grace because Eve disobeyed God’s commandment about eating fruit from the Tree of Knowledge; followed by the central panel with a cart filled with hay amidst worldly pleasures symbolizing humanity’s greed or The Haywain itself; on the right side, viewers are shown a glimpse into Hell.

Hieronymus Bosch was an important Renaissance figure who embodied Realism, Individualism, and Classicalism in his artwork that usually centered around biblical themes provoking morality tales infused with out-of-this-world creatures depicted vividly through Mannerist details.

Overall, Bosch produced several triptychs throughout his lifetime with at least sixteen representing three-part paintings connected together as hinged panels like this one. Today ‘The Haywain’ remains as one among his most significant works worthy enough to make it into galleries all around the globe due to its symbolic nature portraying sin and redemption that cuts across faiths enabling meaningful interaction between diverse cultures.

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