The Garden of Earthly Delights is a triptych painted by the early Netherlandish master Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450–1516). The center image depicts the expansive “garden” landscape which gives the triptych its name. The garden is teeming with male and female figures, together with a variety of animals, plants and fruit. Fantastic creatures mingle with the real; otherwise ordinary fruits appear engorged to a gigantic size. The figures are engaged in diverse amorous sports and activities, both in couples and in groups. Gibson describes them as behaving “overtly and without shame”, while art historian Laurinda Dixon writes that the human figures exhibit “a certain adolescent se*ual curiosity”.
The numerous human figures revel in an innocent, self-absorbed joy as they engage in a wide range of activities: some enjoy se*ual pleasures, others play unselfconsciously in the water, and yet others cavort in meadows with a variety of animals, seemingly at one with nature. In the middle of the background, a large blue globe resembling a fruit pod rises in the middle of a pond.