set the town ablaze

Hieronymus Bosch, Hell. This is the whole vertical panel (one of four of Paradise and Hell), of one of Bosch’s exceptional luminous scenes. Fire may have had a special intensity for Bosch due to a catastrophic fire in his town of ‘s-Hertogenbosch that set thousands of homes ablaze, which Bosch likely witnessed at the young age of thirteen. One can compare the darkness lit up by fire in this panel to the burning city in the right panel of Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights. Here he achieved this using a wet-on-wet technique to paint the light of the fire over a layer of black, illuminating the tortured souls below.