CULTURE & ARTS

The Most Hilariously Disturbing Parts Of That Famous Hieronymus Bosch Painting

Thanks to a new interactive exhibit, you can experience the horrors "The Garden of Earthly Delights" up close.

A new interactive exhibit takes you, from the comfort of your own laptop, into the tangled orgy of dirty details that is Hieronymus Bosch’s iconic 16th century painting "The Garden of Earthly Delights."

Thanks to the website, you can navigate the tangled terrain of the notoriously gnarly artwork with your mouse, by zooming in on particular elements and listening to 40 short audio lectures featuring visual descriptions, historical context and interpretation. Oh my!

The online experience, created as part of an upcoming documentary by Pieter van Huystee titled "Hieronymus Bosch, Touched by the Devil," is hugely informative. I learned a lot from my brief tour -- for example, that they played backgammon in the 16th century. But the real joy of the experience was hearing the f**ked up things in that awesomely absurd painting voiced aloud. If you've never heard a British man seriously utter the phrase "giant potty chair," do you even love art at all? 

It's rumored that Bosch's triptych, depicting Eden, Earth and The Last Judgment, was essentially created during a bad trip. It's believed that Bosch suffered from St. Anthony's Fire, a disease caused by a form of the grain ergot, that among other symptoms causes terrifying hallucinations. (An element of ergot was later used to synthesize LSD.)

Well, after listening in fine detail to all the crazy stuff going on in Bosch's vibrant imagination, I would not be the least surprised if the man was tripping on something. Luckily, Bosch's lucid fantasies and nightmares, in all their bizarre detail, make for a hugely entertaining audio tour. Thank you Bosch, you total weirdo. 

Behold, the 10 best lines from Bosch's audio tour. These sentences have probably never been said before and, in all likelihood, will never be said again. 

1. "A group of lost souls is being squashed by a pair of huge ears, with a knife wedged between them."

2. "With a pot on its head and jugs for shoes, it is sitting on a giant potty chair."

3. "A man has been tied to the neck of a giant lute and is about to be set upon by a snakelike monster."

4. "On top of the hurdy-gurdy sits a blind beggar. One more turn of the handle and the triangle playing lady will lose her head."

5. "One rich stinker is pooping coins. The figure right next to him is throwing up."

6. "From a stick, a giant key is dangling. A man, clearly drunk, is hanging limply through its eye."

7. "A man wearing a pale-red robe and a pig dressed up as a nun try to persuade a soul to sign a document."

8. "The tree man is balanced on two small boats in which a group of people try to find shelter."

9. "The tiny flag on his eggshell back also shows a bagpipe."

10. "He is riding an animal that is not easily recognizable, but just like its rider it was undoubtedly born in the darkest, deepest reaches of hell."

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