In the Garden of Earthly Delights, Hieronymus Bosch shows us how we mortal souls, arisen from earthly paradise, are on our way to the atrocious ordeals of hell via our unchaste lives on earth. This splendid exotic fountain is situated amidst a blissful paradisiacal scene in the center panel. Its design is alienating, almost extraterrestrial. In the hole, placed exactly in the middle of the left panel, we can see an owl as a contemplative central figure. Placed in the forefront, Christ introduces Adam to his future wife. Bosch must have subsequently wondered whether, looking at the right panel, this was such a smart idea.
From an artistic point of view, the world famous brilliant forerunner of surrealism was, in his day, unique and radically different. Hieronymus (Jeroen for short) Bosch was born (ca. 1450-1516) during the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance in s-Hertogenbosch, in the Duchy of Brabant. Bosch places visionary images in a hostile world full of mysticism, with the conviction that the human being, due to its own stupidity and sinfulness has become prey to the devil himself.