Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation
Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)
semiotics; lacan; hieronymus bosch; creative dissertation
Hieronymus Bosch’s (1450-1516) paintings have long fascinated, intrigued, and mystified viewers. In particular, the Garden of Earthly Delights (c.1500) has generated much discussion and speculation. Bosch’s use of medieval symbols and fantastic images, his preoccupation with sinfulness and Hell, and his dismal view of mankind’s future have long been sources of study and speculation. Not only do art historians ponder his work, but so do social historians, philosophers, creative artists and the general viewing public. There is no definitive interpretation of Bosch’s Garden that explains the power the painting holds over its viewers. By examining various interpretations of Bosch’s works, coupled with a decipherment of the Garden using the Lacan’s theory of the Gaze and semiotics, the author argues that it is not possible for there to be a single, authoritative interpretation of the work. This dissertation shows that semiotics opens new avenues of investigation and interpretation; one where signs have multiple meanings and anxiety in the viewer can ensue. Consisting of two distinct yet interconnected parts: one written, one visual/creative. This dissertation allows for interaction with the painting in two languages. The written part explores how the Gaze draws the viewer into the narrative and discusses how, through semiotics, the creation of meaning is developed on different semiotic levels. The visual/creative section examines the intersections of ekphrasis, semiotics, and clay sculpture through the lens of Hieronymus Bosch’s work. Specifically, this creative portion the lack of ekphrastic interpretations of Bosch’s work in clay sculpture.
Hosono, Virginia Lynn, "Lacanian gaze, semiotics, and the enigma of Bosch." (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 2689.