Hieronymus Bosch was one of the most remarkable and original painters of all time. His works were painted five hundred years ago, yet they seem astonishingly modern, anticipating surrealism. This is the art of a world in a state of turbulence, torn by contradictory tendencies – a world in which the light of reason has been extinguished and where animal passions have gained the upper hand. A world of terror, violence and plague: a living nightmare. In short – a world very like our own, particularly given the current pandemic. Alan Woods examines Hieronymus Bosch from the standpoint of historical materialism. Originally published 23 December 2010.