Jheronimus Bosch ca. 1450 – 1516

Haywayn triptych

oil on panel (135 × 200 cm) — c. 1516 Museum Museo del Prado, Madrid

Jheronimus Bosch biography

This work is linked to Genesis 3:6

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This tryptich shows sin and what it leads to, starting with the original sin and the expulsion from Paradise and ending in Hell. The beleaguered haywain with its large haystack in the central panel stands for greed, one of the seven major sins. Devils pull the car to the right, towards Hell.

The greed causes all sorts of trouble, including fighting and even murder, as the dead man in the middle shows. In front of him a quack physician is shown. The hay that stocks out of his pocket shows he must be doing very well with his deceptive business. The same goes for the monk on the right, whose belly shows a preference for worldly joys.

A number of important people ride behind the haywain. They seem happy with themselves and unaware of where they are heading.

Bosch probably tried to point the viewer to the risks of falling for sins and earthly temptations. He shows that sinners end in Hell - quite a warning.

On the outside of the tryptich a wayfarer is shown, a character Bosch often used for symbolising man's journey in life.

An almost identical tryptich is also kept in Spain, in the Escorial.

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