Hieronymus Bosch  - Temptation Of St Anthony

Hieronymus Bosch has been going through a long period of popularity. At first glance, his works don't fit the normal standards of beauty, and would not be expected to give much pleasure. Neither do they seem to fit the normal standards of design. So what is making them so popular?

First a look at the externals. Bosch's most popular paintings are large narrative canvases with many figures. There is simply a lot going on. A lot of little stories to look at. This makes their works much more interesting to people who have never had any education in analyzing a painting.

They also have an atmosphere of foreboding, an atmosphere created by strange and ominous juxtapositions. A gloom and ominousness which reentered painting about the time of Kafka, and which have never left.

You want evidence that the strangeness and the piling up of detail are what are making Bosch's works popular? Just compare them to the most popular works of the surrealists. And note how the popularity of the two groups rose together.

Shocking stories to keep to partly-educated entertained. Foreboding. The Twentieth Century.

Salvador Dali  - Still Life, Fast Moving

Spaces, not commas, please!