The Temptation of St. Anthony

Hieronymus Bosch • Painting, 1490-th , 73×52.2 cm
Digital copy: 1.2 MB
2111 × 2952 px • JPEG
35.3 × 49.4 cm • 152 dpi
35.7 × 50.0 cm • 150 dpi
17.9 × 25.0 cm • 300 dpi
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About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Religious scene
Style of art: Northern Renaissance
Technique: Oil
Materials: Wood
Date of creation: 1490-th
Size: 73×52.2 cm
Artwork in selections: 28 selections
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Description of the artwork «The Temptation of St. Anthony»

The life of St. Anthony - one of the main themes in the works of Hieronymus Bosch. Besides Triptych "The Temptation of St. Anthony"who represents the life of a Christian hermit in various situations and episodes, two boards of the same name are known - the first one is kept in the Prado, and the second, attributed to Bosch just recently, - in Kansas City.

The attribution of the Madrid board is disputed from time to time. Thus, the Dutch research project Bosch Research and Conservation Project does not consider this “Temptation of sv. Anthony "original, while the Prado Museum does not put Bosch's authorship into question.

Initially, the upper part of the panel had an arched (arched) shape, but in the XIX century the shape was changed to a rectangular by adding pieces of oak in the corners. Thus, in the upper part of the picture has a later finish.

The theme of the Madrid board is the meditation of St. Anthony, whom the devil is trying to distract from prayer, sending various monsters. The saint is shown in the lap of nature, under the canopy of a virtuoso depicted hollow tree. The closed, rounded silhouette of Anthony with his hands woven into the castle speaks of the extreme concentration of the saint. Nothing that happens around can distract him from prayer. But what is still going on next? A pig with a miniature bell in the ear lies at the feet of Anthony. A hybrid monster with a bird's head and a body made up of a stone tower and a crater, tries to strike the pig with a hammer. No one else from the devils is trying to attack the saint - neither a legged fish, nor a monster grimacing in the river. Many monsters are absorbed in their own affairs: put bridges, drag the stairs to the house of the saint. Several demons draw an earthenware jug and pour water from it onto a tree behind St. Anthony. The restoration showed that the tree on the original figure of Bosch was covered with fire. After restoration, individual sparks and smoke can be distinguished.

An interesting question is, does St. Anthony see the surrounding demons at all? Some researchers are inclined to think that there is not. We are the only ones who see them - sinful people, because, according to the Flemish mystic Jan van Roisbruck, who lived 100 years before Bosch, “What we contemplate is what we are”.

Author: Anna Yesterday