A Corporeal Garden of Earthly Delights by Agnieszka Nienartowicz

The art of tattooing grows more impressive all the time. This stunning back piece depicting part of The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch is an outstanding example.

That is, until you learn that it’s actually a stunning oil painting created by Polish artist Agnieszka Nienartowicz depicting a person with a portion of the central panel from Bosch’s 15th century triptych tattooed on their back.

From Nienartowicz‘s artist statement: “Although I formally employ techniques close to hyperrealism, I find imperfection in them. I give form to a shapeless mass of paint, but its structure imposes restrictions. After bringing a microscope close to the canvas, we still see only a colored stain in which it is futile to look for the complex tissue matter. It is absurd, therefore, to create an illusion of life, let alone create a real image of life. The body depicted on the canvas is merely a thin layer of paint, contained in two dimensions, but it still seems to bear the mark and shadow of the subject’s life, a trace of what exists in the real world…

…Although I try to discreetly guide the viewer to my own train of thought, I do not put forth any explicit thesis, seeking rather tension, ambiguity or disturbing combinations and therefore reflecting the world around us, where everyone must find the Truth themselves. And the Truth is perceivable.”

This clever combination of the iconic and enigmatic work of a 15th century Dutch Master with contemporary body modification on a modern human is a reflection of Nienartowicz’s thoughts about the conflicted nature of humanity.

“Humans are full of contrasts and contradictions, they want to do good and instead they do evil,” the artist shares with My Modern Met. “I was thinking about human nature, about sin and the will of evil which are inscribed in our being, like written inside us. And then I connected it with the Bosch’s triptych, which speaks of human nature. I love this painting, it is so strange, weird and beautiful at the same time.”

Nienartowicz’s homage to Bosch is not the first time she’s combined historical works of art with contemporary subjects. In fact it’s something she particularly enjoys exploring through her artwork.

“I treat each element like any other item, but on the other hand, the historical elements bring a story and an emotional load with them. At the same time, by including them in my paintings, I give them the new context, meaning, and a new life. Maybe it is also a kind of a tribute to the Old Masters?”


Allegory of Justice by oil on canvas by Agnieszka Nienartowicz, 2018, after Jan van Eyck

Visit Agnieszka Nienartowicz’s website or follow her on Instagram or Facebook to check out more of her beautiful and thought-provoking paintings.

[via My Modern Met]

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