The tour begins with the main gem of the collection, The Last Judgment by Hieronymus Bosch. Hell, as depicted on his famous triptych, is rather striking from the point of view of imagination rather than scary to the modern eye. Half-fish, half-egg chimeras, the all-European fear of Ottomans and the personal disappointments of the artist are all mixed in here. Take a good look at Hell and think about how the contraposition of sinfulness to righteousness has framed Western culture. The reasoning of theology and the theory of evolution will help you to understand why pride was deemed so dangerous and why churchmen aimed to control the physical pleasures of their congregations.
The Holy Family by Cranach, the theological basis of which was rejected in the sixteenth century, will explain to you the origin of the family portrait genre, while the quattrocento and cinquecento paintings will reveal to you the secrets of creating art for the sake of religious meditation.
The Rape of Orithyia by Boreas created by Rubens shows with unbelievable persuasiveness how art that is meant to bring sensational pleasure should look and be a flamboyant interior decoration. Here you can also see the works of the two Rubens apprentices; one of them forever remained in the shadow of his master, while the other marked a new milestone in the development of European pictorial art.