The Temptation of St Anthony (c. 1500) by Hieronymous Bosch

The Temptation of St Anthony - Hieronymous Bosch - c.1500

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Temptation of St Anthony
ArtistHieronymous Bosch
MediumOil on wood
Dimensions131.5 x 53 cm
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationNational Museum of Ancient Art (MNAA), Lisbon, Portugal

About The Temptation of St Anthony

“The Temptation of St Anthony” is a renowned oil on wood painting created circa 1500 by the master artist Hieronymous Bosch. This religious painting is a profound example of the Northern Renaissance art movement and measures 131.5 x 53 cm. It is currently housed in the National Museum of Ancient Art (MNAA) in Lisbon, Portugal.

The artwork presents a dense, fantastical depiction of the trials of St Anthony the Great, enveloped by hybrid creatures and otherworldly scenarios. The painting is executed in a triptych format, with the central panel flanked by two wings that close over it. Each panel is replete with meticulous details and elaborate scenes. The central panel features St Anthony amidst a chaotic landscape, where he observes and endures various torments and demonic temptations.

The left wing of the triptych shows St Anthony being carried through the sky by demons, a scene reflective of the saint’s supernatural experiences as described in his hagiography. The right panel depicts the hermit-like saint continuing his pious endeavors amid scenes of debauchery and temptation.

Bosch’s intricate detail, use of color, and the embodiment of contrasting themes of morality and sin are vivid throughout. His dramatic interpretation of spiritual narratives and human vice offers insight into the religious perspective and societal attitudes of his time. Bosch’s work transcends simple storytelling to explore the psychological depths and complexities of temptation, piety, and the human condition, making “The Temptation of St Anthony” a masterpiece of enduring historical and artistic significance.

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