While examining more closely a set of reproductions of I.Bosch’s painging about “Visions of the Hereafter” and focusing on “Paradise” my eyes were directed to a mountain with a white fountain, whose top was cut but with water running out through various outlets at different levels, instead of sprouting upwards (as I imagined John Shade’s vision of the “Fountain of Life” to be). On the basin that lies protected by a sort of fortress there are three big birds which I couldn’t correctly discern. On the inferior columns of the base we find gargoyles looking out (as in another reference, in SO I think, by VN relative to his works and life). 

Although V.Nabokov makes various references to I.Bosch and to a “triptych” in “Pale Fire” I think it is difficult to ascertain to what diptych. triptych or series of pannels he is refering to. There are “flaming hells” but no “six winged seraphs” in the two wooden panels related to Paradise, nor the other two representing hell… Birds are important in Bosch’s triptych “The Garden of Earthly Delights”





Visions de l'au-delà : Le Paradis 1500-1503

bois 88,5 x 41,5 cm Palais des Doges, Venise


Until now I haven’t been able to get my hands on a copy of Gerard de Vries and Donabld B. Johnson’s “Vladimir and the Art of Painting” and this is why I haven’t checked in it after a more detailed explanation concerning the works of Bosch in VN’s works. I would welcome any more specific indication about any reference of this “white fountain” in “Pale Fire,” also concerning the choice of birds (not the more common doves, it seems to me)


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