Jheronimus Bosch: Death and the Miser (1485-1490)

(National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., USA)

This painting used to be a part of a larger triptych and was the inside of the right panel. The entire scene is inspired by the so-called 'Ars moriendi' ('The Art of Dying'). these are texts which offer advice to Christians on the protocols and procedures of a good death so that they choose Christ over sinful pleasures. Depicted are the last moments in the life of a miser. He is on his deathbed - a little demon (on the left of his bed) is offering him money while an angel kneeling at the right encourages him to acknowledge the crucifix in the window: the miser must choose between Christ and sin. The standing figure at the end of the bed is also the miser earlier in his life. He is shown as hypocritical: with one hand he puts coins into the strongbox where they are collected by a rat–faced demon, and with the other hand he holds a rosary. Death is already coming through the door: the choice of miser (salvation offered by Christ or sin) is left unknown. Painting from 1485-1490.

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