Hieronymus Bosch  - Temptation Of St Anthony Salvador Dali  - Still Life, Fast Moving

One of the innumerable students who expect me to do their homework for them asked me to describe the differences between Bosch and Dali. Fair enough. Both seem to use hard lines to emphasize the reality of impossible juxtapositions, yet they produce very different impressions, and in fact have little to do with each other.

Dali is very much a product (No, I didn't say "slave"; you did.) of the early Twentieth Century, and more specifically of Freud, with his concepts of the subconscious and dreams. The manifestos of the first generation surrealists are completely open about this; Dali himself uses the dream as the overt subject of many paintings.

This obsession with dreams and the subconscious is but part of the interest in process itself which is part of the Twentieth Century manifesto-world. Breton and Dali want you to know and care where their images are coming from. Bosch is interested in his images of Good and Evil, Earthly Paradise and Hell only in their own right.

Bosch still belongs to the Medieval world of narrative and detail, the same world which created endlessly long poems which are only tolerable if you allow yourself to drift in and out of individual scenes as they interest you. Dali cannot escape from the Renaissance: the image tends to have one center and one subject.

It is no wonder that children seem to like Bosch.


Spaces, not commas, please!