Rocznik Historii Sztuki — 21.1995

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The thème of individual responsibility, existing also outside the context of the Last Judgement, used to be presented in many
différent ways in the Italian wali painting of the 14th century; for example, the church of St. Patronio in Bologna, the church in
Paganico near Sienna.

The question of an individual's moral responsibility présent in the painting north of the Alps was visualized - in extended
picture cycles - in private prayer books throughout the 15th century and, sporadically, as early as the 14th century. The commonly
depicted thèmes were the following: an individual judgement after death, the Last Judgement over the soûls, Purgatory and
effectiveness of the prayers for the dead.

Around the year 1500 a v ision of the faithful returning from the dead was presented in the painting located in the oratory
of the cathedral in Cahors, france. The oratory in question is next to the cloister. In this painting each of the depicted individuals
is carrying a booklet on the chest, the booklet containing the inventory of good and bad deeds that will be weighed and valued by
the Judge appearing in Heaven. Among several collected examples, the above mentioned one proved to be the most accurate
illustration of the problem in question.

The so-called Triptych of the Last Judgement. (or Triptych of Doomsday) by Hieronymus Bosch (Vienna, The Collections
of the Academy of Fine Arts) in fact does not reflect the thème suggested by its title. The painter did not présent either the
résurrection of the dead or the séparation of the saved from the condemned. Christ does not appear here with the Cross - the sign
of triumph. Ile reigns over the world, and at the (bot of his throne surrounded by a circle of light one сап see a valley of human
sutTering caused by transgression: The Seven Deadly Sins. In my option it is a vision of Purgatory. The angels are saving some
individual soûls from that chasm and bringing them into Heaven. The présentation being discussed corresponds to some of those
included in the Netherlandic prayer books; in which, the angels saving the suffering people form the purgatorial fiâmes are
presented. Evil créatures (or monsters) that tonnent the soûls, the so-called "hellish fauna," were not created by Bosch; they were
not part of a literaiy fiction either. Through the âges the monsters also used to appear as a common décorative motif on the margins
of the north-Netherlandic prayer books. They w ere also visualized as a décorative pattern on the pages of the prayers to Our Lady
Mary Book ofHours printed in Paris at the end of the 15th the beginning of the 16th centuries. Hieronymus Bosch intensified the
suggestiveness and "genuineness" of the i г (i.e. the monsters") images and he used them as a symbol to express the evil inside an
individual. In the painting entitled .S7. John on Patmos, a monster which is departing from St. John the Evangelist has got John's
face. It is, therefore, a symbolic expression of evil rejected. Human suffering in Purgatory w ill not be caused by evil spirits (i.е.,
devils) or boilers with hol. steaming pitch; human beings will be suffering because of their moral transgression. Such is, I believe,
the message behind The Triptych ofViena. It must have served to induce contemplation and prayers for the dead. The approach
to the présentation of the problem of human suffering in the italian panei painting of the I5th century was relatively less dramatic.
Bosch's vision originated in the conceptual traditions connected with the prayers for the dead contained in the Book ofHours.

In the West, beginning form the 12th century, an attempt to présent au individual at the dramatic moment of the end of
humanit) was a growing tendencj in the development of the iconography exploiting the thème of the Last Judgement. The Italian
painting of the first half of the 14th century tended to depict human beings who had already been redeemed, and who - after the
final verdict - were sharing and rejoicing in eternity. This trend did not find its continuation in the further évolution of this

In the north the problem of individual responsibilit) was connected with the séquences of illustrations accompanying prayers
l'or the dead. The vision of human w ickedness, viewed as the main source of purgatorial suffering, was created by Hieronymus

Rysunki wykonał: L. Fijal 6, 1 1. 15, 16, 25, 26
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