Merry Company on a Terrace, by Jan Steen, c. 1670. © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fletcher Fund, 1958.


Volume X, Number 4 | fall 2017


In 2014 Amelia Hamrick, an undergraduate at Oklahoma Christian University, noticed musical notes written across the buttocks of one of the denizens of hell depicted in Hieronymus Bosch’s painting The Garden of Earthly Delights. She transcribed it into modern notation and made a recording she posted on her blog. “So yes,” she wrote, “this is literally the 600-year-old butt song from hell.” The post went viral.

Extraordinary how potent cheap music is.

—Noël Coward, 1930