What appears to be a photograph of a girl showing off her Hieronymus Bosch-inspired tattoo isn’t a photo at all. It’s actually an incredible oil painting by Polish artist Agnieszka Nienartowicz. Graduating just two years ago from the Fine Arts Academy of Gdańsk, she demonstrates incredible skill at her craft. This particular painting combines the work of Hieronymus Bosch, a forefather of the Northern Renaissance, with tattoo art for a decidedly contemporary feel.
Interestingly, the piece, which shares a title with Bosch’s iconic The Garden of Earthly Delights, was first conceived of in Nienartowicz’s own private reflections. With a deep interest in man’s internal emotions and conflicts, she found the 15th-century painting as a perfect vehicle to convey her message. “Humans are full of contrasts and contradictions, they want to do good and instead they do evil,” the artist shares with My Modern Met. “I was thinking about human nature, about sin and the will of evil which are inscribed in our being, like written inside us. And then I connected it with the Bosch’s triptych, which speaks of human nature. I love this painting, it is so strange, weird and beautiful at the same time.”
Bosch’s figures, expertly painted in oil by the young artist, demonstrate the fall of man, contrasting with the delicate beauty of the young woman depicted. Nienartowicz’s work follows a returning trend toward figurative painting in contemporary art. And though treading toward hyperrealism, there is still a painterly touch evident in the canvas. By combining old and new, she strives to achieve the perfection of the Old Masters, while continuing their skillful tradition into the 21st century.
Just what satisfaction does Nienartowicz derive from combining contemporary and historical elements in her paintings? “I treat each element like any other item, but on the other hand, the historical elements bring a story and an emotional load with them. At the same time, by including them in my paintings, I give them the new context, meaning, and a new life. Maybe it is also a kind of a tribute to the Old Masters?”