Garden of Earthly Delights in Da Vinci Code

Dan Brown refers to the Bois de Boulogne as the Garden of Earthly Delights in The Da Vinci Code, chapter 37. Langdon and Neveu drive through the Paris green belt at night, seeing the popular recreational area transformed into the city’s red light district.

‘The Parisian cognoscenti knew it as ‘the Garden of Earthly Delights’. The epithet, despite sounding flattering, was quite to the contrary. Anyone who had seen the lurid Bosch painting of the same name understood the jab; the painting, like the forest, was dark and twisted, a purgatory for freaks and fetishists.’

The Hieronumus Bosch painting referred to by Brown is the middle piece of a triptych. The left painting depicts life in the Garden of Eden. The right painting depicts the horrors of hell. The middle painting portrays the ambiguities of a life in which pleasure is sought beyond all else.

The tryptich is housed in the Prado Museum in Madrid.

Bosch Garden of Earthly Delight

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