Dutch artist, Hieronymus Bosch, was about as distinctive a painter as the Medieval period produced anywhere. His depiction of the religious doctrines and beliefs of the day are both fantastical, and quite unlike the work of his contemporaries. He was even collected within his own lifetime, and most notably, a century or so after his death by Philip II of Spain, a country where many of his surviving works remain to this day.
Only around 25 paintings have been attributed to him today, including the triptych, ‘The Garden of Unearthly Delight’. One of the most famous of them is also the subject of this new numismatic release. Called ‘The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things’, it was painted in oil on a wood canvas, around 1500, most likely by Bosch, although that has been contested. Its layout is quite unusual.
The work comprises a large round image in the centre of the rectangular canvas, surrounded by four smaller ones, on which are images of Death, Judgement, Heaven, or Hell. The larger centrepiece depicts, in clockwise segmented form, wrath at the bottom, then envy, greed, gluttony,
sloth, lust, and pride. Each is realised as a real-world scene of everyday life, rather than as a religious allegory. In the centre of that sits an eye holding an image of Christ emerging from his tomb, under which is the Latin inscription Cave cave d[omi]n[u]s videt (“Beware, Beware, The Lord Sees”).