Image: Garden of Earthly Delights
Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450-1516) was a prolific Dutch painter of the 15th and 16th centuries. Many of his works depict sin and human moral failings. Bosch’s works contain highly original, imaginative, and dense use of symbolic figures and iconography, some of which was obscure even in his own time. He is said to have been an inspiration for the surrealist movement in the 20th century. His true name was Jheronimus (or Jeroen) van Aken (meaning "from Aachen"). He signed some of his paintings with Bosch, derived from his birthplace 's-Hertogenbosch. In Spanish he is often called El Bosco.
Born to Dutch and German painters, he spent most of his life in 's-Hertogenbosch, a flourishing city in fifteenth century Brabant, in the south of present-day Netherlands. In 1463, some 4000 houses in the town were destroyed by a catastrophic fire, which the then 13-year-old Bosch may have witnessed. In 1488 he joined the Brotherhood of Our Lady, an archconservative religious group of some 40 influential citizens of s’-Hertogenbosch and some 7000 'outer-members' from all over Europe.