Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What Magnus Fiskesjö reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Magnus Fiskesjö, author of China Before China: Johan Gunnar Andersson, Ding Wenjiang, and the Discovery of China's Prehistory (with Chen Xingcan) and The Thanksgiving Turkey Pardon, The Death of Teddy's Bear, and the Sovereign Exception of Guantanamo.

The entry begins:
Some time ago, almost by accident, I came across a book at the Brooklyn Museum shop entitled Hieronymus Bosch, Garden of Earthly Delights by Hans Belting (Munich and New York: Prestel, 2002).

It is an amazing book. It is by Hans Belting, an outstanding German scholar of art, but I was not yet very familiar with his work at the time. I am not an art historian really, but an anthropologist, and bought the book simply because I knew of Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516) as a tremendously fascinating and also enigmatic painter.

Already as a kid, growing up in Sweden, I remember seeing reproductions in books about Bosch's paintings, including this most famous and strange painting which is the focus of Belting's book, The Garden of Earthly Delights. I remember at a young age marveling at the crowded scenes in these amazing paintings, overflowing with mysterious figures, clearly chock full of significance, but not easy to understand. As a slightly older teenage backpack traveller, I once even saw the original painting, which is a triptych on display in Madrid's Museo del Prado.

When I saw the book on the shelf, I knew...[read on]
Learn more about Magnus Fiskesjö at his Cornell faculty webpage.

Magnus Fiskesjö is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Cornell University.

Writers Read: Magnus Fiskesjö.

--Marshal Zeringue