Dr. Platypus

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A Platypus in Paradise

In commenting on a post about the Garden of Eden, Christopher Heard referred to Hieronymous Bosch’s triptych, “The Garden of Earthly Delights“:


He also noted the presence in the left-hand panel (representing the Garden of Eden itself) of “a platypus reading a book.” Naturally, that got my attention! Sure enough, it’s there in the pond in the extreme lower right corner. Here is a close-up:


Really insightful artist, that Bosch!



  1. Josh says:

    Interesting. I’m going to have to figure out why that is. Good thing I live with an art teacher.


  2. I would appreciate any insights Jessica may have. šŸ™‚


  3. Laura Cruz says:

    It’s an interesting idea…but the platypus is native to Australia, which had not yet been discovered by Europeans when Bosch was alive. There’s an interesting debate in the eighteenth century over whether or not reports of the platypus were a hoax. There’s so much deep sybolism in Bosch, much of drawn from oral Dutch traditions, that you should probably talk to a Dutch expert. I would be more inclined to think it’s some kind of fish, such as a harring.


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