The Temptation of St Anthony (Bosch painting)

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The Temptation of St. Anthony
The Temptation of St Anthony (Bosch).jpg
ArtistHieronymus Bosch, or follower
Yearc. 1500–1525
TypeOil on panel
Dimensions73 cm × 52.5 cm (29 in × 20.7 in)[1]
LocationMuseo del Prado, Madrid

The Temptation of St. Anthony is a painting of disputed authorship, attributed to either Hieronymus Bosch or a follower. It is now in the Museo del Prado in Madrid.


The work was in the Escorial monastery, although it was not mentioned in inventories; later it was moved to the Prado. It is likely that the work was one of the Temptations sent to the monastery by Philip II of Spain in 1574. This painting has a more serene atmosphere than the triptych with the same theme now in the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga of Lisbon.[2]

Like all Bosch's works, it cannot be dated with precision, although it is likely from his late production (1500–1516).[2]

In 2016, the Bosch Research and Conservation project, after five years of researching all known Bosch paintings, announced that they had significant doubts about the attribution of the work to Bosch, instead attributing it to a follower.[3]



St. Anthony the Abbot is portrayed in meditation, in a sunny landscape near the trunk of a dry tree. St. Anthony is a recurrent figure in Bosch's work, with up to 15 paintings of this subject, all inspired by legends told in the Golden Legend and in his Life by Athanasius of Alexandria. He is represented in a setting of solitude and temptation that the saint experienced over twenty years. Although this picture is significantly different from other works by Bosch of St. Anthony, such as the triptych painting of the same name, customary features of the abbot include his dark brown habit with the Greek letter "tau" and a pig by his side.[1][4]

In contrast to the earlier paintings with St. Anthony, this version of the temptation of St. Anthony finds the abbot calmer from his meditative spirit. His surroundings are peaceful and evoke a sense of calm. The pig lies next to him like a pet. Once demons, the creatures of temptation are now more like goblins and do not disturb the peaceful feeling of the painting.

This painting, originally framed with a semi-circular arch, was one of Bosch's later works, from sometime after 1490. Philip II of Spain sent it to the Monastery of El Escorial near Madrid. From there the painting came to the Museo del Prado as part of the Royal Collection.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "The Temptation of Saint Anthony". Madrid, Spain: Museo Nacional del Prado. Retrieved 2015-06-14.
  2. ^ a b Varallo, Franca (2004). Bosch. Milan: Skira.
  3. ^ Siegal, Nina (2016-02-16). "Prado Museum Rescinds Loan of Downgraded Hieronymus Bosch Works". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
  4. ^ Kren, Emil; Marx, Daniel. "The Temptation of St Anthony". The Web Gallery of Art. Retrieved 26 February 2010.


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