Lluis Barba’s Garden of Earthly Delights
Spanish painter, Lluis Barba has received a lot of attention for his modern day version of Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights. The original piece was completed in 1504 and stands as a 87″ high and 153″ wide triptych. The panels are meant to be read from left to right and the first panel depicts God presenting Adam with the newly created Eve; Creation. The central panel is a broad panorama of sexually engaged nude figures, fantastical animals, oversized and gorged fruit, and hybrid stone formations; depicting Earth. And the right panel is a tortuous, flesh-rending hellscape portraying the torments of damnation; Hell.
Lluis Barba has used this exact work for his own, modern day and artistic social commentary. During the 2007 Art Basel Miami Beach, Barba unveiled his contemporary version of the Garden of Earthly Delights. Alongside Bosch’s disfigured and haunting characters, Barba juxtaposed images of fellow friends, artists, colleagues and celebrities, purposefully placed in Paradise, Earth or Hell. Kate Moss can be seen on the far left side of the panel, enjoying the innocent delights of Creation. Barba offers that “Kate Moss is just as important to Art History as Andy Warhol,” therefore earning her a place furthest away from Hell. Brad Pitt, Madonna and Elton John are among those engaged in earthly sin in the central panel.
“However, the most damning judgments are reserved for key players in the art world. The White Cube Gallery dealer Jay Jopling (who sold Damien Hirst’s £50 million skull , For the Love of God), is shown in a sharp suit talking on his mobile as he strides cheerfully through Hell, no doubt closing another mega deal. Prints of Barba’s work sold in a flash – at a mere £25,000 they represented pretty good value in Miami, where an Andy Warhol went for £4 million. ”
~Times Online December 12, 2007