Hidden self-portraits

Category: Art & Culture January 28, 2013

“The Garden of Earthly Delights”. Hieronymus Bosch, c.1500

“The Garden of Earthly Delights”. Hieronymus Bosch, c.1500

A walk round the Prado Museum can unearth secrets only known by lovers of painting. If you look closely at these works you’ll get some “personal” knowledge about their authors, whose self-portraits are hidden away somewhere in the painting.

I’ve spent hours searching for Wally on the beach, at the railway station or on the ski slope; now I’ve got to find Bosch in some of his paintings on display in the PradoMuseum. Here’s a clue: he portrayed himself looking very pale in The Garden of Earthly Delights, the triptych that King Felipe II ofSpain was so fascinated by.

 “The Archangel Saint Michael”. Anonymous, 1495-1500

It’s even more difficult to find this anonymous painter from the Spanish-Flemish school.  However, he wanted to assert his authorship by portraying himself at work, in an era when artists did not usually sign their paintings. It’s a shame that the figure is so tiny that we can’t tell him apart from the many other distinguished painters of his time.

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