“Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights – Some musicological considerations and criticisms” (Hans H. Lenneberg) 1961
[in: Gazette des Beaux-Arts, CIII, September 1961, pp. 135-144]
[Also mentioned in Gibson 1983: 92 (E112)]
Lenneberg says a few things about the so-called Musical Hell in the right interior panel of the Garden of Earthly Delights triptych. When Bax writes that musicians were viewed as companions of the devil circa 1500, he is generalizing: this view was limited to itinerant musicians. Fraenger and Wertheim-Aymès have written a lot of nonsense about the musical instruments and the staffs in this part of the triptych. Bosch’s representation of the instruments is quite realistic (apart from their size) but it remains uncertain whether the open music album and the notes on the behind of a soul are meant as real music or as mock-music, in which latter case it did not matter to depict realistic staffs. At any rate, Lenneberg was not able to decipher the music and so it is quite doubtful whether symbolic interpretations can be attached to it.
[explicit 15th May 2016]