The Hay Waggon

This satirical work, in the form of a triptych, is full of symbolism and has the moralizing nature typical of Bosch’s work. On the left hand panel, under God’s gaze, various scenes from the book of Genesis are portrayed. The creation of Eve; temptation, where the serpent has the head of a woman; and Adamand Eve being expelled from Paradise.

On the middle panel, which is a little hard to interpret, the artist appears to have attempted to show us man’s eternal quest for happiness, symbolized here by the lovers aboard the waggon, and expressing how happiness is as fragile as hay. Around it are people from all kinds of social backgrounds; from monarchs, popes and aristocrats to commoners. Without exception, they all want to get on board the waggon, and even employ ladders to do so. The lovers are escorted by an angel who is praying for them, and by a strange demon playing a musical instrument. On the right of the waggon, a series of monsters appear to be dragging men off to hell, which is shown on the last panel. At the top, fires can be seen, painted in bright reds, and in the scenes at the bottom the painter has devised the most appalling infernal tortures.

(c) (R) 2013, MUSMon com S.L.
Text (a) Catalina Serrano Romero
English translation (a) Thisbe Burns