“The death of a buyer,” Jerome Bosch – a description of the picture

“The death of a buyer,” Jerome Bosch – a description of the picture
“The death of a buyer,” Jerome Bosch - a description of the picture - 1

  • Posted by Jerome Bosch
  • Museum: National Art Gallery (Washington)
  • Year: 1500

Description of the picture :

The death of a buyer is Jerome Bosch. 1500. Board, oil. 92.6 x 30.8 cm
   The picture depicts in an allegorical form so characteristic of this artist, the death of a stingy man tempted by demons. Outwardly, the picture looks like an altar sash or part of a triptych, since it has an exceptionally elongated shape. The stage on the tree is depicted in oil, and in its form and composition it resembles other works of the master – “Allegory of gluttony and voluptuousness” and “Ship of fools”.

   The diagonal composition of the picture is extremely successfully inscribed in such a complex very narrow and long form of the board. It captures the moment of the departure of the buyer from life. He lies in his bed in a neat and spacious bedroom, but his death is devoid of goodness and humility, there is no remorse in his life affairs. Despite the fact that his head is a guardian angel urging him to turn his eyes to the Almighty and think about the soul, he only continues to consider his material values as a mean.

   He is tempted by a bag of gold, a small demon peering out from under the bed. Another representative of the dark part of the other world cladped about parapet with signs of a high chivalry position thrown at him – a mantle and a sword. All these signs of the futility of worldly existence continue to interest the dying man more than his immortal soul, despite the fact that Death with a scythe itself is already looking into his door.

   The artistic advantages of the picture, taking into account the time of its creation, allow us to talk not only about semantic significance, but also about the high skill of the artist. The diagonal perspective is complex in terms of the correct reproduction of proportions, and in this picture everything looks depicted correctly and professionally.

   The color scheme of the picture is quite diverse, but not motley. It is dominated by fairly light colors in warm colors. There are no screaming accents or any special details that distract attention. The reddish tones of the canopy on the bed are balanced by a more saturated shade of the vaulted ceiling and golden floor boards. The olive color of the character’s clothes in the foreground, which stands at the open chest with things collected for life by the buyer, is designed to concentrate the audience’s attention on this symbol of meaningless accumulation. All this seems so insignificant in the face of an irrevocable departure from this world.

   The views of the audience should be focused on the meaning of the image, and art here is secondary, this is just an occasion to reflect on the brandy and futility of being.