Thursday, January 19, 2017

BOSCH, Hieronymus, Haywain 1500-02 Oil on panel, Monasterio de San Lorenzo, El Escorial

Context: The subject of sin and its punishments was central to all of Bosch's art. A famous triptych, The Haywain, contains a progression of sin, from Eden to hell, across its panels. In the central panel sin is represented through the metaphor of a large wagonload of hay for which a greedy world grasps. All the while, the wagon is being pulled by demons towards the right panel - which shows one of Bosch's earliest depictions of hell.

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Form: Interestingly enough, Bosch again is collaging together elements from images by Giotto in his Last Judgment and Masaccio's Expulsion as well as various elements and compositional devices one might find in the Tympanum of Gothic and Romanesque Churches such as those found at Autun.

In the sky we see an image of God almost as if he is in a Last Judgement scene. The composition is very similar to Giotto's Last Judgment. The arrangement and scale of the angels or possibly even some demons is in a semi- circular form as in Giotto's.

Beneath, in the garden, we the arrangement of the figures in this continuous narrative scene is based on various standard compositions for each story. For example, the creation of Eve uses the same poses as Michelangelo does about ten years later in his Sistine Chapel panel.

Iconography: The arrangement of this panel is hierarchical. The scene at the top, may represent creation but the weird bug like demons grouped at the bottom coupled with the angels who are higher up in the picture plane, may indicate that this is the fall of the angels which is echoed by Adam's expulsion at the very bottom. An interesting, Catholic icon is represented by God the father as he pulls Eve from Adam's rib. God is wearing the papal crown.

Form: The composition of the center scene is fairly symmetrical. The hay wagon that sits in the center of the image creates the bottom of pyramidal shape that is completed by the figure who sit atop the wagon and God in heaven who looks over the scene.

Iconography: The overall scene is one that represents our unavoidable journey to damnation. It is a bit pessimistic.

Atop the Hay wagon, angels pray for us and demons also vie for our attention. A vessel, possibly representing the holy vessel is atop a pike, while opposite this is an owl, representing knowledge and death, sits atop another branch surrounded by blackbirds (death?).

Below the wagon are scenes of chaos, murder, lust and avarice. Basically all the seven deadly sins are represented in one guise or another and even the clergy are not immune to gluttony in the lower right hand corner.

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Arc Studios News January 2017
Happy New Year! This month Arc Studio News features artist Dianne Hoffman who works out of studio #103. She has been an Arc artist since August, 2014. 
Dianne Hoffman Profile
by Alexandra Brown

Although Dianne has been a native of California for her entire life, she is in love with the city of San Francisco, which serves as a constant source of inspiration for her. It was in this "enchanting City by the Bay, with its vibrant Victorians, street performers, foghorns, golden bridges, Indian summers, colorful diversity, literary ghosts and loving embrace of everything extraordinary," that Dianne found her home. "My misfitted self found its fit," she explains.
 
Dianne did not feel comfortable with the title of "artist" until she was close to 40 years old, even though she senses it was an identity that was likely decided at her birth. She has always had a pronounced creative streak and an artistic temperament that her own mother has described as, "marching to the beat of her own drum." After finishing high school, Dianne packed up her car and headed north towards the Bay from the suburbs of Southern California. "I didn't know what to expect, besides endless possibilities." However, it took Dianne almost 20 more years to gather all of her experiences, impressions, afflictions, affiliations, ideas and dreams, and to convert them into an art form.
 
"Thankfully, I eventually found the courage to own it and invest myself wholeheartedly in art as a career. It took realizing that life was short and I'd better step up and live it." So in 2007, feeling a desperate need to connect, Dianne picked up a glue stick and a stack of tattered magazines. Today Dianne identifies her medium as collage and assemblage. She has a tendency to personify inanimate objects, and to feel genuine compassion for those that are damaged or disregarded. "I see potential in broken bits and find beauty in rust and erosion. The older an object, the more haunting and alluring its ghost."
 
Dianne finds her artistic treasures at thrift shops, flea markets, garage sales, junkyards, attics and basements. Sometimes all she needs to do is look at an object for inspiration, but more often than not, she will contemplate her neatly organized piles of arbitrary things by repetitively placing random items together until something visually clicks in her mind. Most of Dianne's work is set in boxes, where she becomes the storyteller. "I create small worlds in a box where tall tales are told, jokes are cracked, emotions stirred, poems imparted and songs are sung. By using images and objects that evoke the past, my pieces become storytellers, dream interpreters and memory inducers. They are innately lyrical and flicker along to their own silent film."
 
Through this otherworldly iconography, Dianne is trying to convey equality, and she does this by delicately balancing light and dark elements. "Both are required to experience the other. I do not see one as positive or one as negative but rather that there is whimsy, sincerity and magnetism to be found in their unified stories." Anybody who has a healthy relationship with their imagination is Dianne's audience; she wants her viewers to raise an eyebrow and lean in for a closer look.
Dianne feels very fortunate to be a member of Arc Gallery, to have an affordable workspace within a well-maintained facility that presents itself with integrity and professionalism. "Both the studios and the gallery play a supportive and vital role to the San Francisco arts community at large."
 
Her many talented peers and contemporaries surrounding Dianne are one of her greatest sources of inspiration. Pioneer of the assemblage movement, Joseph Cornell, and stop-motion animators, the Quay Brothers also provide great inspiration to Dianne, but her favorite period of art is, "the one we are making!"
See Dianne's work below.
Hello/Good-bye Arc Artists

Arc Studios is sad to say goodbye to artist Samanta Tello in Studio 206. She is moving to a home studio and has promised to visit Arc often. We welcome Jennifer L. King, who moved into Studio 101 in December and will be sharing studio space with Soad Kader. We welcome Amy Ahlstrom and Joshua Coffey, who will be sharing Studio 206 in February. 
Dianne Hoffman

Solo Show at Hotel Biron
Hotel Biron, 45 Rose Street, San Francisco. Exhibition runs from December 12, 2016 through February 14, 2017.

Group Show at City Art Gallery
828 Valencia Street, San Francisco. December 2, 2016 through January 31, 2017
KSW Presents

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 8-10pm | doors 7:30
$12 at Arc Gallery, 1246 Folsom Street
Kearny Street Workshop celebrates the book releases of Omnidawn Publishing's Jennifer S. Cheng and Robert Andrew Perez -AND- relaunches their Office Gallery with Francis Calimlim.
Soad Kader

With Liberty and Justice for Some
Co-curated by Monica Lundy and Walter Maciel
Walter Maciel Gallery, 2642 S La Cienaga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, January 7  - March 4, 2017

Work:  Adel A. Kader (Pops)
1941-2012
Immigrated to the USA from Egypt
acrylic, ink, paper on canvas, 8x8"

Denise Tarantino 

Shows
10 Spot, SOHN FINE ART GALLERY, 69 Church Street, Lenox, MA, January 27 - March 20 

10 Spot, Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, Pittsfield, MA, February 03 - February 27 
 
Animal House: The Exhibit, Sacramento Fine Arts Center, 5330B Gibbons Drive, Carmichael, CA, January  03-29

Bryn Mawr Art Ability, Main Line, PA, November 6, 2016 - January 29, 2017

Work Can Be Found At
City Art Gallery, 828 Valencia / Mission
Local Take,  17th Street, Castro / 9th Ave Inner Sunset
Collage Gallery, 1345 18th St, Potrero Hill, San Francisco
SF Mercantile, 1698 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 
Wonderland Gallery, 1266 Valencia St, / Mission San Francisco, CA
Acci Gallery, 1652 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 
Arc Studios & Gallery | 1246 Folsom St, SF 94103 | arcstudiossf@gmail.com |  arc-sf.com/
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How to Identify Different Exhibition Venues Part 1 Museums and Art Centers




There’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time…whether or not I should work with galleries.
I really don’t want it to sound like sour grapes, but I do believe that for most artists it’s a bad idea to work with galleries. There are exceptions to this rule and I want to explore them here later, but first I’m going to start with the negative aspects.
The three main reasons why I think working with galleries might not work for most artists are economic, emotional, and career building.
The main and most rational thing to base my decision on is money. At 52, I’ve been showing with galleries for around 25 years or so, and with the exception of two or three instances, I have never made back the money that I’ve invested in any gallery show. This includes group shows.
For the last 10 to 15 years I’ve sold somewhere in the range of $20-$30,000 worth of artwork each year. In the last two years I’ve been able to pocket two thirds of this money. This is because in the last several years I sell my work on line through etsy.com, eBay, Amazon, and several other venues. I’ve found most success at Etsy.com.
Before this, I’ve had shows in quite reputable galleries such as: Karen Jenkins Johnson in San Francisco, Klaudia Marr in Santa Fe, as well as several galleries in Dallas and other parts of the country. Those are just the most reputable. I am not trash-talking any these galleries and that’s not what this is about. I do however have tons of horror stories about working with galleries.
The empirical evidence is that whenever I’ve had a gallery show I have ended up spending almost all of the money that I made from sales in that gallery on: shipping the art, helping with gallery promotions (catalogs, postcards, and travel expenses.) I am leaving out the costs of actually MAKING the art such as supplies and time. In each instance I usually sold between 2 to 7 works and sometimes these pieces went for as much as $5000. So my art was not cheap and sometimes on a show I would sell around $10-$15,000 worth of work.
Sounds good doesn’t it? But it wasn’t. The breakdown is: the gallery take is 50% on each sale, which is standard. I don’t begrudge the gallery because they pay overhead expenses and are also investing in me. That would leave me with around $7000. Shipping art to a gallery—especially out-of-state—can cost as much as $1000-$2000. So now I’m down to about $4000 in my pocket. Next, if it’s out of town, factor in airfare and hotels. I think you get the point. Plus, at the end of the year, I get hit with taxes on the original amount.
So, even though it looked like I was a successful, selling artist, I was only really pocketing at the most (and this includes studio sales) around $8000 at the end of the year. At the time, I was lucky I had a tenured teaching position at a community college, making $110,000 a year. In fact, I used my art career as a write-off at the end of every year to decrease the taxes I pay. My wife and I are not big spenders and I managed to put aside some money for retirement which I wasn’t going to touch until I was 62 or 63. By selling work online for the last five years or so, I was able to figure out our finances and “retire” at 52 and I can afford to paint full time.
I want to bring up one notable exception. It took me about five years, but I completed a graphic novel and each one of the panels was a separate watercolor. Just after I retired, Will Wilson, director of a community gallery in Tracy California, offered me a show. The show included a stipend as well as extra money for painting a mural and they took care of most of the other costs—including a hotel if I wanted. So I walked away from that show with a considerable profit. Thank you William Wilson!
Okay, so I’ve laid out economic reasons for not working with galleries. Now the emotional ones.
I am not complaining about specific galleries, so I will speak about it in the most general way. Every artist has their horror stories but this is not the place for those.
Working with a gallery is, at its base, a collaboration between the artist and the gallery director. Gallery directors have a different point of view about what kinds of art the artist should make and what kind of shows should be offered in the gallery. It’s their right. They own the gallery. Pressure from a director can really add up by the time you get to the opening reception, making an artist kind of irritated. Especially if the artist is bit of a prima donna. I know both sides because I ran a gallery for about five years at Ohlone college in Fremont. Believe me, some artists are tough to work and often have an attitude that far exceeds the quality of their work. As I said, this is not a slam against any specific gallery director. I’m merely pointing out that collaboration is really hard and can lead to a lot of conflict and hurt feelings.
Most artists personalize the experience of showing their work because the artwork is themselves. I’ve internalized the lack of sales at galleries even though a gallery director might have fumbled a sale or not made enough effort. I’ve had a strong emotional reaction to some gallery directors not selling work that I feel they could have. Many artists I’ve talked to often describe an angry, irritable relationship with gallery directors who represent them. I am also sometimes surprised by the vitriol and anger some artists express toward gallery directors whom I know to be hard-working and decent people. Generally, they mean no harm and in fact, they’d like to help but often artists have bad reactions to situations
Another kind of emotional drag about galleries are receptions. Unless you really like a party, find it easy to talk to people and love those gallery receptions, they are a nightmare for people who have a hard time being the center of attention or have any kind of social uneasiness. That type of person is me. I appear to be very outgoing and know how to schmooze people, however, inside I am just crawling with anxiety. Perspiration is usually soaking through to my suit jacket and beading up on my little bald head. The experience is a total freak out for me and I really don’t like it.
That brings us to the next and final idea of why I think what you shouldn’t work with the gallery. Career building. You have the basics of my experiences, so now I will bring in the experiences of two other artists and their stories. I will not name the artists to protect the innocent.
Case study number one. This artist is way better than me and managed to obtain an exclusive contract with an important gallery that has worked with other “blue-chip” artists. When this artist describes whether the gallery built their career, the clear impression is it did not. The gallery promised to promote this artist’s work, take care of expenses and have some big shows, but they didn’t. The artist complained about the lack empathy the gallery had and their failure on the promise to represent, promote and propel them into being an important, influential artist. They did none of that.
Case study number two. While I was director of the school’s art gallery, I visited an artist in studio and listened as they complained about their gallery for nearly 2 hours. I don’t begrudge the artist (well, I do a little), but according to this artist, the gallery didn’t sell enough of their work (even though they sold everything the artist made) and also said the gallery often cock blocked them on studio sales and even wanted a percentage of those studio sales. I don’t really know what the reality is because my experience with that gallery (who I have showed with) was pretty positive in general. However, I understood how the artist felt.
Both of these artists, in my opinion, are top shelf artists. Honestly, they are so good that I’m jealous of their work and yet the gallery itself didn’t make their career. In fact, one of the artists has gone off on their own, has been getting shows all over the world, started their own organization and is doing fairly well promoting their own work. They are still going to gallery root however, but they don’t have an exclusive contract with a so-called important gallery again. I think they’re happier for it.
Okay, I have a lot more experience and a lot of anecdotes that I could share to back up all of my observations, but I do want to make one sort of positive comments about working with galleries.
Occasionally, galleries can make an artist’s career. Historically, the artists like Picasso and Basquiat have had very fruitful and excellent experiences working with impresarios and art galleries that have given them salaries and promoted them, literally making their careers. Art history is full of these notable exceptions. Perhaps some of the artists that I really appreciate, such as Bo Bartlett and Macolm Liepke, have also had some really good experiences with galleries. I do think that in the contemporary world, because of the egalitarian nature of the Internet and the fact that people can buy stuff online, this might be less possible.
I’d love to hear your opinion.

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How to Market Fine Art in Galleries and Virtual Spaces
Everything you need to know about, photographing your work, applying to galleries, selling your work online, and Internet marketing


Atlantic Center for the Arts Master Artists in-Residence


Since 1982, Atlantic Center for the Arts Master Artists in-Residence Program has provided artists from all artistic disciplines with spaces to live, work, and collaborate during three-week residencies. Each residency includes three master artists of different disciplines. The master artists each personally select a small group of  emerging and mid-career 'Associate Artists' - through a competitive application process administered by ACA. During the residency, the selected 'Associate Artists' work independently on their own projects, participate in discussions with their Master Artist and others in their group, as well as interact or collaborate with artists in other disciplines. The relaxed atmosphere, unstructured program and lush, unspoiled environment provide considerable time for artistic experimentation, exploration and creation.To see upcoming Master Artists and full schedule see: http://atlanticcenterforthearts.org/residencies/master-artist-residency-...

Location

New Smyrna Beach, Florida: United States
New Smyrna Beach, Florida: United States Located just five miles from the east coast beaches of central Florida, the pine and palmetto wooded environment contains award-winning studios for painting, sculpture, music, writing, and dance, a black box theater, media lounge, and resource library. Modern studios on 69 acres of lush palmetto and pine forest in the midst of 2,200 acres of ecological preserve, on the richest tidal estuary in North America.

Statistics

  • Residency Length: 3 weeks
  • Average number of artists in residence at a time: 24
  • Number of artists accepted in most recent year: 94
  • Total applicant pool in most current year: 400

Eligibility

  • Application type: Open application
  • Collaboration: May apply as a team
  • Geography: Open to US artists, Open to non-US artists
  • Additional eligibility information: 
    Master Artists set criteria and select a maximum of 8 Associate Artists with whom to work.
  • Application deadline: May 14December 04June 25October 15January 22
  • Application Ongoing: Yes
  • Additional deadline info:
    Residency Deadlines ongoing. View Schedule at http://www.atlanticcenterforthearts.org/master-artist-residence-schedule To receive our free monthly email newsletter visit http://www.atlanticcenterforthearts.org/join-email-newsletter

Past Residents & Quotes

Past residents: 
Edward Albee, Paula Vogel, Eric Bogosian, Spalding Gray, Annie Baker, Alex Katz, Nan Goldin, Brice Marden, Dana Schutz, Pepón Osorio, Laura Owens, William Kentridge, Sekou Sundiata, Ralph Lemon, Liz Lerman, Eiko & Koma, Merce Cunningham, Allen, Ginsberg, Sharon Olds, Sonia Sanchez, Richard Blanco, Nick Flynn, Carolyn Forché, John Corigliano, Cecil Taylor, Pauline Oliveros, Louis Andriessen, George Lewis and Augusta Reed Thomas.
I cannot praise the architecture and game plan for ACA highly enough. For professional creative artists this program is a godsend.
— Eric Bogosian, playwright

Facilities & Services

  • Housing: Private housing (individual apartment/cabin/house)
    Housing has air conditioning/heating, work desk, small refrigerator; private bathroom w/shower, and hi-speed wireless internet.
  • Meals: All/most meals are provided by organization
    Meals: Weekday meals are provided Vegetarian options at all meals; local/fresh/organic ingredients emphasized; special dietary needs addressed; weekend meals not provided; twice-weekly trips to grocery /drug store arranged
  • Computer/internet access: Wireless Internet
  • Accessibility: housing/grounds/studios are accessible
    Four housing units are dedicated to individuals with limited accessibility.
  • Studios/special equipment: Dance / Choreography, Digital media, Exhibition / Installation, Fiber arts, Film / Digital editing, Music studio (non-recording), Music recording studio, Painting, Photography (digital), Theater, Sculpture, Woodworking
  • Additional studio information: 
     Communal studio spaces with 24-hour access.
  • Other facilities and services: Laundry facilities, local pay phone, fax/copier service, bicycles/locks available. Twice-weekly trips to local stores provided.

Residency Fees

$900/3-week residency includes weekday meals and housing; does not include artist materials, transportation or weekend meals.

Stipends / other support

Only accepted Associate Artists may apply for financial assistance. See website for details.

Additional expectations / opportunities

No expectations, unlimited opportunities!

Contact Information

1414 Art Center Avenue
New Smyrna Beach, Florida 32168
United States


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How to Market Fine Art in Galleries and Virtual Spaces

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Something Like Summer, black artist crayon on 11x9 inches sketchbook paper by Kenney Mencher  
https://www.etsy.com/listing/490530652/something-like-summer-black-artist

Duncan Grant (British, 1885-1978), Cymbal Player, 1937

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Alan Cumming, black artist crayon on 11x9 inches sketchbook paper by Kenney Mencher

Alan Cumming, OBE (born 27 January 1965), is a Scottish and American actor, singer/performer, author, and activist who has appeared in numerous films, television shows, and plays. His London stage appearances include Hamlet, the Maniac in Accidental Death of an Anarchist (for which he received an Olivier Award), the lead in Bent, and the National Theatre of Scotland's The Bacchae. On Broadway, he has appeared in The Threepenny Opera, as the master of ceremonies in Cabaret (for which he won a Tony Award), Design for Living and a one-man adaptation of Macbeth. His best-known film roles include his performances in Emma, GoldenEye, the Spy Kids trilogy, Son of the Mask, and X2: X-Men United. Cumming also introduces Masterpiece Mystery! for PBS and appeared on The Good Wife, for which he has been nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Golden Globe Awards and a Satellite Award. A filming of his Las Vegas cabaret show, Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs, aired on PBS stations in November 2016.

He has also written a novel, Tommy's Tale, and an autobiography, Not My Father's Son: A Memoir, had a cable talk show called Eavesdropping with Alan Cumming, and produced a line of perfumed products labelled "Cumming". He has contributed opinion pieces to many publications and performed a cabaret show, I Bought a Blue Car Today.

BOSCH, Hieronymus. Death and the Miser c. 1490 Oil on wood, 93 x 31 cm National Gallery of Art, Washington

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Form and Iconography: The use of oil paint to create an incredible level of realism is quite evident in this image. Here, the artist shows off again by showing how well he is able to paint the textures and surfaces but he is also demonstrating his ability to create space.

In some ways, this scene is a genre scene. It takes place in what looks to be a domestic setting and the central character is one that the viewer would be expected to identify with.

Bosch often worked with almost incomprehensible or bizarre iconography. It seems, like the submerged symbolism of Robert Campin's Merode Altarpiece c. 1425 he is inventing or using a now lost lexicon of iconography.

The interior of this composition is formed to look almost as if the scene is taking place within the nave of a vaulted cathedral. This is probably done almost as a sarcastic reference to the Gothic style Church. To the left of the doorway in which a skeleton is entering is a Romanesque or Gothic capital and column.

This image seems to be a sarcastic play on the iconography associated with annunciation scenes such as those by Robert Campin's Merode Altarpiece c. 1425. Almost as in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, in this scene, a miser is being visited on his death bed by a variety of fantastic creatures. Death stands ready in the door to fling his last arrow and take the man to his fate while his soul is wrestled over. God is represented by the apparition of the crucifixion in the window. The light that shines through the window is represented similarly to the soul of Jesus being delivered to Mary in the Merode Altarpiece c. 1425. Above the bed, on a canopy, a demon shines a fake sparking lamp to misguide him.

At the misers back is an angel. Again the angel is similar to representations of Gabriel in annunciation scenes but the miser pays no attention and seems torn, even on his deathbed, between the glory of god and the vain gloria of his avarice represented by the evil frog like demon tempting him with the money bag.

Overall the composition is a vertical one and this plays into the iconography. God is represented at the top of the image and as we descend through the image we can also see that the iconography descends into the common world of man.

Beneath the deathbed is a rather red nosed and almost drunken looking man who has a key and a rosary hanging from his robes. According to the the National Gallery's website, "At the foot of the bed a younger man, possibly the miser at an earlier age, hypocritically throws coins into a chest with one hand as he fingers a rosary with the other."

I think they may have it wrong though, to me it looks like he is placing money into an alm's bowl held by a demon while another demon passes up what looks to be a letter or a papal indulgence. Could this be St. Peter and the chest represent the holdings of the Catholic Church? Perhaps then, the letter is an indulgence that is an attempt to pay his way into heaven.

Beneath the chest and at the very bottom of the picture plane lies a suit of discarded armor. Perhaps a representation of the miser's discarded faith. Notice that the sword is rusted. He is no longer the good Christian soldier depicted in Durer's print.

Here's another point of view but I'm not sure if it's correct:


Bosch's depiction of a dying miser lying in his high narrow bedchamber features a number of details pointing out the consequences of a life devoted to avarice. The figure of death stands in the doorway indicating that the miser's end is rapidly approaching. And while the miser's guardian angel vainly tries to draw his attention to the crucifix in the window at the upper left, the demonic influence is overpowering.
Many commentators have noted that Bosch's work here seems to be of a type which may have been influenced by the Fifteen Century devotional work Ars Moriendi (Craft of Dying) which describes how a dying man is exposed to a series of temptations by demons surrounding his deathbed. At each temptation an angel comforts him and strengthens him and in the end the angel is successful, the soul is carried to heaven and the devil's howl in despair. Here, however, the outcome is much less certain.

The fact that the miser's path was established long before his death is apparent with the inclusion of an image of his younger self placing a coin into a bag held by a demon. Underneath the chest other demons await. in the forefront a winged demon handles the red robes which indicate the miser's earthly rank. While at bedside another creature offers a bag of gold which provides a final distraction to the dying man. The message appears to be that despite God's willingness to provide salvation most people will persist in their sins until the point of death.

http://www.artdamage.com/bosch/miser.htm

Here's the National Gallery of Art, Washington point of view:


Of all fifteenth-century artists, Hieronymus Bosch is the most mysterious. His puzzling, sometimes bizarre imagery has prompted a number of false assertions that he was, for example, the member of a heretical sect, a sexual libertine, or a forerunner of the surrealists. What can be said is that he was a moralist, profoundly pessimistic about man's inevitable descent into sin and damnation.
In this slender panel, probably a wing from a larger altarpiece, a dying man seems torn between salvation and his own avarice. At the foot of the bed a younger man, possibly the miser at an earlier age, hypocritically throws coins into a chest with one hand as he fingers a rosary with the other. In his last hour, with death literally at the door, the miser still hesitates; will he reach for the demon's bag of gold or will he follow the angel's gesture and direct his final thoughts to the crucifix in the window?

Avarice was one of the seven deadly sins and among the final temptations described in the Ars moriendi (Art of Dying), a religious treatise probably written about 1400 and later popularized in printed books. Bosch's painting is similar to illustrations in these books, but his introduction of ambiguity and suspense is unique.

This panel is thinly painted. In several areas it is possible to see in the underdrawing where Bosch changed his mind about the composition. His thin paint and unblended brushstrokes differ markedly from the enamellike polish of other works in this gallery.

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