(b. ca. 1450, 's-Hertogenbosch, d. 1516, 's-Hertogenbosch)
Last Judgment Triptych (left wing)1504-08
Mixed technique on panel, 167 x 60 cm
Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna
The left wing of the triptych represents the Paradise.
Here, across the three inner panels, appear the First and Last Things, beginning with the Fall of Man on the left wing.
The story recounted in the second and third chapters of Genesis has been placed in a lush garden; in the foreground we see the creation of Eve, followed by the temptation of the First Couple. In the middle distance they are driven from the garden by an angel. The expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden is paralleled above by the expulsion from Heaven of the Rebel Angels, who are transformed into monsters as they descend to earth. Although the revolt of proud Lucifer and his followers is not mentioned in Genesis, it appears in Jewish legends and entered Christian doctrine at an early age. These were the angels who sinned and whose prince, envying Adam, caused him to sin in turn. It was further believed that Adam and Eve had been created by God in order that their offspring might fill the places left vacant by the fallen angels. In this panel, Bosch thus depicted the entrance of sin into the world and accounted for the necessity of the Last Judgment.
The inclusion of the Fall of Adam and Eve in a representation of the Last Judgment is unusual; the other two panels of the Vienna triptych depart even more from traditional iconography.