This is the typical medium for his paintings, being oil on oak panel. His study drawings for each of these complex compositions would be pen and ink on paper. This carefully constructed painting places Christ perfectly in the centre, with four guards positioned in each corner. As is typical of Renaissance art in general, the guards themselves would hold symbolic values and not just be added for aesthetic interest.
There has been no conclusive decision from art historians as to the precise symbolic meaning of these additions, just that they would have stood for something. Bosch does not follow conventional symbolism here, and so it is hard to decipher his complex and inventive mind. Some have claimed that they represent four temperaments, but some are a little to vague to be sure of this theory. Others have suggested they could represent four different religious individuals, again with no conclusive evidence or argument.
Art historians felt confident in dating this work based on a number of factors which when compared from others in his career allowed them to place it at around 1495. It is the small size coupled with ambitious construction that was key to them placing it at this point in his career. Some have tried to remove the attribution to Bosch, claiming it was not grotesque enough, but as you will find from our paintings section, not all of his work went in that direction.
The National Gallery in London is amongst the finest of art venues in the world and boasts an exceptional permanent collection that has been built up over many centuries. It is hard to summarise this wide ranging selection of art to just a few highlights, but try we will. Their own website draws attention to Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait, Diego Velázquez's Rokeby Venus, William Turner's Fighting Temeraire and Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers. Their is anything and everything from the 13th century all the way up to the impressionists.