This is the ONLY video about this painting on YouTube, or anywhere, period!

The Fall of the Damned, by Dirk Bouts is a forgotten, underrated, and overlooked masterpiece. Why hasn’t anyone else made a video about it, and why had I never seen it before until I discovered it on my own in a roundabout way searching other painters from the Late Middle Ages? Most art authorities just regurgitate whatever they were taught, and YouTubers make videos about whatever is the most popular in order to be popular themselves. But nobody needs me to add to that pile of the same old shit about the same old shit, and I have my own eyes. I trust my own judgement, and art history is crafted by wordsmiths and people who want to impose a paradigm on art, in which case art serves their agenda.

My resurrection of this masterpiece is, among other things, a wrench in the art paradigm machine.

So, here is a video with super hi-rez details about this painting, plus an appropriately heavy metal soundtrack, sound effects, and all in in my own peculiar video-editing style. I had to go through great trouble to create the hi-rez details, zooms, and pans. There’s no place online where you can download the image this large. I had to piece it together in Photoshop, and multiple times for different sections of the painting, etc.

If you prefer a written version with pics, here’s my article version on this blog:

Also it’s just in time for Halloween. It’s haunted, and a little scary at times. The perfect art history video for the holiday.

~ Ends

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5 replies on “New Video: ‘The Fall of the Damned”, by Dirk Bouts (1470): a Masterful Conjuring of Hell

  1. I appreciate all of your detailed elucidation and really stand amazed by the hi-res “re”creation of the images. That said, the imagery all makes me feel relieved to be a member of the unchurched, religious propaganda or not. My one logical burning (yes!) question concerns the nature of death in religious dogma and how it came about that artists could happily ignore some basic religious facts. Yes I know that to represent actual suffering you need an actual representation of a body. But this ignores the religious tenet of the soul. If death is the soul leaving the body to go in an either up or down direction, how did all those bodies arrive in hell? A truly imaginative artist would have somehow managed to create a stand-in for the soul which wasn’t such a detailed body. Of course the gruesome effects would have been much more difficult to portray to an audience steeped in the horrors of the damned. Just mho.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Glad you appreciated my representation of the painting. Now, on to your other quandary.

      “A truly imaginative artist would have somehow managed to create a stand-in for the soul which wasn’t such a detailed body.”

      That’s a very interesting question/statement, and I’ve been pondering it for a while. Of course you already know the answer, or part of it, which you nailed when you wrote, “Of course the gruesome effects would have been much more difficult to portray…”.

      I don’t think I can address this adequately in a comment, and I’m inspired to perhaps write a post about the topic, which has to do with meaning versus texture in art, and I’m using the word “texture” metaphorically here, so it’s just a bit complicated.

      I certainly agree that one could imaginatively have gone in another direction with a depiction of hell, in which souls were incorporeal, and that might or might not be a superior painting, that all depending on the “texture” of the rendering. It would have the added benefit of being more accurate or realistic in relation to the meaning it ostensibly wanted to convey. We might similarly ask why angels need wings.

      Let me go with one analogy, though several come to mind. Someone once pointed out that space battles such as we see in Star Wars (and virtually all other sci-fi of that genre) are wrong because there is no sound in space. One could make a more accurate depiction of a space battle without the sound. And that might be a more sophisticated and intellectually challenging movie specifically as regards the reality of space. However, it would be a different movie, and another way to look at it is which space battles are just the most cool. What I’m calling the “texture” is the aesthetics of it. And someone discovered that space battles with soundless laser fire and soundless explosions without fire were not exciting, and thus undermined the adventure, which was all part of a story about human resilience and fighting evil forces. It was more fantasy in space than it was science.

      So, in this particular case, I’m not as interested in Bout’s painting as an illustration of a belief outside of the painting as I am in the what he achieved with the painterly medium itself, and the world he created visually on the panel. The concept of hell was a bit of an excuse for the painter to go off the rails and create his own twisted and macabre alternate reality. I’m less concerned with what that reality is than I am with how well he manifested it. It’s like saying I’m more intrigued by the flavor of a dish than I am concerned about the ingredients or their nutritional value. What makes a great pastry? And, curiously, the flavors and smells that might be irrespective, coincidental or opposite to nutritional value represent their own nexus of understanding, memories, associations, and so on.

      Why doesn’t a dragon burn its tongue? Why don’t mermaids have gills?

      You can’t judge a guitar solo by the lyrics of the song.

      But you are right that a more accurate depiction of hell according to the doctrine of Christianity would require a lot of imagination, and also that probably that’s the reason these painters opted for a hell that is more fantasy than supernatural. It’s a very solid point.

      I had to come back and edit my comment. As it happens I’ve made an image of an after death experience myself, in which the body is left behind and only the spirit can cross over to the other side:

      So, I guess I’m not that adverse to artists painting less corporeal after death states.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Loved the commentary accompanying “death dissolution and the void”. It would be amazing to see what you would do with the same subject matter now that you have so many more digital tools to work with. A side note to the part about humans not wanting to disappear into oblivion: I thought I was going to die a few decades back when I was sideswiped on my motorcycle and lost complete control of it. I knew I was going down hard and I distinctly remember my thoughts, which were calmly and simply “I guess this is it”. After I and the bike were successfully removed from the freeway I was in a typical state of shock. And of course unpleasant deathly dreams followed shortly thereafter. I have no idea why a brain would tell a human well I guess this is it with a total sense of nonchalance. The older I get the more the idea of finite life freaks me out. I do, however, still ride a motorcycle…

        Liked by 2 people

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