The Extraction of the Stone of Madness (1475-80) by Hieronymous Bosch

The Extraction of the Stone of Madness - Hieronymous Bosch - 1475-80

Artwork Information

TitleThe Extraction of the Stone of Madness
ArtistHieronymous Bosch
MediumOil on board
Dimensions18 7/8 x 13 3/4" (48 x 35 cm)
Current LocationMuseo del Prado, Madrid

About The Extraction of the Stone of Madness

Hieronymus Bosch’s painting titled “The Extraction of the Stone of Madness” is a surreal masterpiece that features a surgeon extracting a stone from a patient’s head through trepanation. During those times, people believed that madness was caused by physical abnormalities and removing the stone could cure the individual of their madness.

The painting depicts a rural world away from urban life, mirroring folly and human craziness. It is marked by bizarre images and inexplicable actions, making it difficult to comprehend using modern standards of reality. The artwork reflects Bosch’s anxiety over changes in society, similar to works created by Surrealists many centuries later.

Apart from its historical significance as an example of Bosch’s unique style, the painting shows moral complexity as well. Some have suggested that the removal of stones symbolizes societal drawbacks or personal vices that must be extracted for an individual to achieve spiritual enlightenment.

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