Bosch Virtual Reality Experience

Press Release

21st October – 24th December

Student wearing VR headset in front of Hieronymus Bosch painting

Student using the VR glasses in front of the Bosch painting, Garden of Earthly Delights. Garden of Earthly Delights / Hieronymous Bosch / 1495 - 1505 / Grisaille, Oil on oak panel / Museo del Prado / PD

20 October 2021: The Hunt Museum will host “Ride a Flying Fish”, a VR experience that explores The Garden of Earthly Delights, a 500-year-old triptych by the Dutch painter by Hieronymus Bosch from Thursday 21st October until 24th December 2021.

Not only does the VR exhibition give visitors access to a renowned seminal work that resides in the Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain, the experience allows people to feel as if they are stepping inside the intricate painting. Through the VR headset technology, viewers Ride a Flying Fish as they travel through each panel of the Garden of Earthly Delights. The journey begins at the Garden of Eden and proceeds through Earthly Delights before descending into hell.

Jill Cousins, Director & CEO Hunt Museum, said, “This is a new art experience for the Hunt Museum.  The idea of moving around inside an artwork and feeling it to be a living thing gives new insights and joy. The Garden of Earthly Delights is such a complex painting but with VR technology you get to dive deep into it; focussing on every little detail and almost becoming part of the painting.”

“Our VR exhibition offers a new way of experiencing art. Hieronymus Bosch was a painter of his time, whose influence reverberates down the centuries. Given his pioneering imagination and innovative approach to new media, it seems very fitting that our first foray into VR explores the alternative reality presented by Bosch”, continued Ms Cousins.

The exhibition goes beyond VR to provide a completely immersive experience. A large-scale printed version of The Garden of Earthly Delights will be available to view, aspects of its symbolism drawn out and explained, and a film about Hieronymus Bosch will be on show.

Influence and Connections

Demonstrating the influence Bosch had on European art, The Hunt Museum has been able to draw connections to another triptych – this one owned by the museum. The triptych from a century later, A Painted Epitaph dates circa 1611. Unlike Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, this work was created as an altarpiece. It’s iconography, was intended in a period of religious ferment, to be seen as either Catholic or Lutheran. Interestingly, both triptychs tell the story of the mental and spiritual torments endured by man and both have representations of St Anthony.

A very high-quality digital version of A Painted Epitaph will also be on display. The digitisation reveals much that is difficult to see with the naked eye including the Dutch proverb which translated means “Hurrah! Hurrah! If you get this!” – suggesting another potential link to Bosch and the riddles posed in his paintings.

Hieronymus Bosch (Jheronimus van Aken) was born c. 1450 into a family of painters and raised in the town of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, from which he received his moniker. A painter of religious iconography, his fantastical, almost surreal scenes have made him one of the most important artists of the late medieval era.

Bosch’s best known work is undoubtedly The Garden of Earthly Delights — his large-scale triptych depicting the corruption of mankind by sin believed to have been commissioned by members of the Nassau royal family in the early 16th century. It is thought that the triptych is meant to be read left to right showing first the presentation of Eve to Adam; second, the garden of the title depicting nude men and women indulging in sin; and third, man’s punishment in hell.

Garden of Earthly Delights / Hieronymous Bosch / 1495 - 1505 / Grisaille, Oil on oak panel / Museo del Prado / PD

Exhibition details

An experience not to be missed, this will be of particular interest to art lovers, historians, tourists, students as well as gamers and tech enthusiasts.

Tickets are €10 or just €12.50 to see the exhibition and entire Hunt Museum collection. Children go free.  To book, visit

Ride a Flying Fish Exhibition runs from 21st October to 24th December 2021.

Experience it here:

For media information:

Edwina Gore, Gore Communications, 087 6295323 or Aileen Eglington, 087 2505007

For further information:  

Alisson Rocha, The Hunt Museum, Limerick.  Tel 083 823 5296 email:

About The Hunt Museum

The Hunt Museum exhibits one of Ireland’s greatest private collections of Art and Antiquities, dating from the Neolithic Period to the 20th century. Generously donated by John and Gertrude Hunt to the people of Ireland, this diverse collection is now housed in Limerick’s 18th Century Palladian style building, formerly The Custom House.

About Bosch

Hieronymus Bosch (Jheronimus van Aken) was born c. 1450 into a family of painters, and most probably studied with his father. He was raised in the town of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, from which he received his moniker. Like most professional artists of the Renaissance, Bosch’s skills were not confined to a single medium. He also designed stained glass windows and brass pieces, and even created some embroidered pieces. His work used vivid imagery to depict moral and religious ideas and stories, and he set himself apart from his contemporaries with the disturbing detail of his panel pictures. He painted symbolic narrative renditions of the dance between heaven and hell through biblical-themed landscapes upon which play a revolving cast of fantastical, and often macabre humans, animals, monsters, and make-believe creatures.

Religion played a pivotal role in the life and work of Bosch. In the town of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, many of the people were employed by the church in various jobs and were members of religious groups. The cityscape was also dominated by churches, including St. John’s Cathedral.

Bosch was a member of the confraternity of the Illustrious Brotherhood of Our Blessed Lady, that venerated the Virgin Mary. Many artists and musicians were also members of the brotherhood. Bosch received numerous commissions from the Brotherhood. Around 1480, Bosch married Aleyt van den Meerveen, a wealthier older woman. The couple moved to the nearby town upon the inheritance of a house from her family in Oirschot.

Bosch produced around sixteen triptychs during his lifetime, many remain intact, while a small number are fragmented. His artistic career has been divided into three distinct periods, which reflect his age and manner in which he was producing art. They are the early works (c. 1470–1485), the middle period (c. 1485–1500), and the late period (c. 1500 until his death in 1516). The Garden of Earthly Delights was painted in his middle period, c. 1490- 1500. A record in the accounts of the Brotherhood of Our Lady, of which Bosch was a member, records his date of death as being in 1516, with a funeral mass taking place on 9th August of that year.

The Hunt Museum Triptych: Painted Epitaph

German or Flemish assembled after 1611

Oil on soft-wood panels

A triptych which honours the cleric shown in a variety of poses, biblical scenes including Roman Emperor Constantine, St Anthony of Egypt and St. Thomas.  This was created as an altarpiece unlike Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights. What makes this piece interesting is not so much its artistic merit but it’s iconography, intended in a period of religious ferment, as either Catholic or Lutheran. We know it was designed as a puzzle, because an animal-like figure – the devil – writes at a desk under the church, ‘Clapt, clapt indi het snapt’, an old Dutch proverb meaning ‘Hurrah! Hurrah! If you get this’

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