Saint Anthony the Abbot Tempted by a Lump of Gold is an early Renaissance religious painting created in 1436 by Fra Angelico, an Italian artist known for his depictions of Christian figures and themes. The painting measures 19.7 x 28 cm and is made using tempera and gold leaf on panel. It is part of a cycle of eight works representing scenes from Saint Anthony’s life, with this particular scene depicting Saint Anthony resisting temptation.
The painting showcases Saint Anthony seated in the desert, with a lump of gold placed before him by two grotesque demons hovering behind him. With one hand raised to bless the demons and the other pointing towards heaven, he rejects their proposition as he remains focused on divine enlightenment. The work is widely admired for its striking lines, subtle color contrasts, and intricate detailing.
Although attributed to Fra Angelico’s workshop by some scholars, there is no disputing that the painting exemplifies his masterly use of light and skillful balance between decoration and spiritual subject matter.
This artwork represents the religious beliefs held dear during the early Renaissance period when art served as a conduit for communicating theological messages to parishioners during public worship. Paintings like these played an important role in disseminating Christianity while simultaneously elevating artistic sensibilities across Europe.”