No one knows what legendary Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch was trying to say in his iconic triptych, The Garden of Earthly Delights. Is it anti-sin? An affirmation of his family's long history with the confraternity the Illustrious Brotherhood of Our Blessed Lady? Or a celebration of all the pleasurable activities we can do on Earth, and an embrace of sexuality?
Bosch's death, precisely 500 years ago, left one of the greatest mysteries in art history but now you can draw your own conclusions about his most famous painting from an inside perspective with a new virtual reality app called Bosch VR.
Open the app on your iPhone or Android, and you'll find yourself flying into the Garden of Eden on a giant fish. A unicorn, a chest-puffing bird, and a white giraffe are your first companions before you come across the divinely pink central fountain, thought to be evidence of Bosch's fascination with Tantric Buddist and Hindu philosophy. The fish takes you from location to location, so you can sit back and soak it all up. In VR, you can't help but focus on every little detail, which is one of the strengths of analyzing such a dense painting through this perspective.
The group behind the app, Burrell Durrant Hifle, have won BAFTA and Royal Television Society Awards and been nominated for Grammys and Emmys. They've produced several stunning nature documentaries for the BBC, and tackled VR in their War on Words project. Already this year scholars identified a previously unknown Bosch painting, an albino giraffe went viral much like the one painted in Bosch's Garden of Eden, and a massive exhibit will showcase nearly all of Bosch's paintings in his hometown museum Het Noordbrabants Museum. Bosch's virtual reality debut is in good historical company.
Download Bosch VR for iPhone or Android. See more from Burrell Durrant Hiffle on their website.