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The Temptation of Saint Anthony
El Bosco
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El Bosco

S'Hertogenbosch (Holanda), 1450 - S'Hertogenbosch (Holanda), 1516

The Temptation of Saint Anthony

Ca. 1490. Oil on oak panel, 73 x 52.5 cm.

Saint Anthony the Abbot, already an old man, is shown meditating near the trunk of a dry tree. Both it, the water in the foreground, and the lush vegetation in the background are supposed to represent the desert in which the saint spent twenty years alone. At that time, a desert was not a place without life, but rather one characterized by solitude. Here, it is inhabited by demons intent on tempting Saint Anthony. Bosch includes them in this work, almost like the saint's identifying attributes, along with the customary ones: the saint's dark brown habit with the Greek letter, “tau,” and the pig by his side. Originally framed with a semi-circular arch, this mature work is by the painter's own hand and of great technical quality, though difficult to date with exactitude. Felipe II sent it to the Monastery of El Escorial, from whence it entered the Prado Museum.


Technical data

Inventory number
El Bosco
The Temptation of Saint Anthony
Ca. 1490
Oak panel
High/Height: 73 cm.; Width: 52.5 cm.
Colección Real (Monasterio de El Escorial)

Bibliography +

Ponz, Antonio (1725-1792), Viage de España. Vol. I, Madrid Joachin Ibarra, 1773, pp. 106.

Lafond, Paul, Hieronymus Bosch. Son Art, Son Influence, Ses Disciples, Bruselas. Paris G.Van Oest, 1914, pp. 55.

Brans, J.V.L., Hieronymus Bosch (El Bosco) en el Prado y en el Escorial, Barcelona Omega, 1948, pp. 50/ lám.75.

Delevoy, Robert L., Bosch, Ginebra Skira, 1960, pp. 126.

Mateo Gómez, Isabel, El Bosco en España, Madrid Instituto Diego Velázquez, del C.S.I.C., 1965, pp. 25/ lám.38.

De Tolnay, Charles, Hieronymus Bosch, Baden-Baden Reynal and Company William Morrow and Company, 1965, pp. 306,373.

Boon, K.G., Jheronimus Bosch, Hertongenbosch Hieronymus Bosch Exhibition Foundat, 1967.

Friedländer, Max J., Tout L'Oeuvre Peint de Jerome Bosch, Paris Flammarion, 1967, pp. 57.

Buzatti, Dino, La obra pictórica completa de el Bosco, Barcelona. Madrid Noguer, 1968.

Friedländer, Max J., Early netherlandish painting, Leyden-Bruselas A.W.Sijthoff, 1969, pp. lám.83.

Reutersward, Patrik, Hieronymus Bosch, Upsala Rudolf Zeidter, 1970, pp. 253.

Boczkowska, Anna, Hieronim Bosch, Varsovia. Berlin Arkady. Henschelverlag, 1974, pp. 44.

Schuder, Rosemarie, Hieronymus Bosch, Berlin Union Verlag, 1975, pp. lám.35.

Bermejo, Elisa, La pintura de los primitivos flamencos en España, Madrid C.S.I.C., Instituto Diego Velázquez, 1980, pp. 116.

Bango Torviso, Isidro, Bosch: realidad, símbolo y fantasía, Vitoria Sílex, 1982, pp. 205.

Dixon, Laurinda, Bosch's St. Anthony triptych an Apothecary's Apotheosis, 1984, pp. 119-131/ lám.22.

Marijnissen, Roger H., Hieronymus Bosch. The Complete Works, Amberes Tabard Press, 1987, pp. 436.

Linfert, Carl, Hieronymus Bosch, Nueva York Harry N.AbramsInc., 1988, pp. 132-134.

Checa Cremades, Fernando, Felipe II: mecenas de las artes, Madrid Nerea, 1992, pp. 161,175, 236, 249, 302, 408, 421.

Marijnissen, Roger H., Bosch, Milano Electa, 1995, pp. 125.

Garrido Pérez, Carmen, El Bosco en el Museo del Prado. Estudio Técnico, Madrid Museo del Prado, 2001, pp. 59.

The World of Bosch, Hertogenbosch Heine Uitgevers, 2001, pp. 103.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Pintura flamenca de los siglos XV y XVI: guía, Madrid Museo del Prado, 2001, pp. 174.

Koldeweij, Jos, Hieronymus Bosch. New Insights Into His Life and Work, Rotterdam / Ludion Gen Nai Publishers, 2001.

Elsig, Frédéric, Jheronimus Bosch. La question de la chronologie, Genève Droz, 2004, pp. 133-135 fg.81.

Marijnissen, Roger H., Jérôme Bosch : Tout l' oeuvre peint et dessiné : Mercatorfonds, 2007, pp. 436.

Schrecken und Lust. Die Versuchung des heiligen Antonius von Hieronymus Bosch bis Max Ernst / ausstellung und katalog Michael Philipp; mit Beiträgen von Hans Richard Brittnacher [et al.]., Múnich : Hirmer, 2008, pp. 20.

García-Frías Checa, Carmen, 'De la grandeza y variedad de la pintura que hay en esta casa' La colección pictórica de Felipe II en El Monasterio de El Escorialo, Madrid Patrimonio Nacional, 2013, pp. 35-51 [41].

Pérez de Tudela, Almudena, 'Acceptance of Bosch's works by courtiers during the reing of Philip II: new examples' En: Jheronimus Bosch Art Center, 2014, pp. 190-205 [191].

Other inventories +

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 446.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 446.
Bosch. / 446. Las tentaciones de San Antonio (E.) (tabla.) / Alto 2 pies, 6 pulg; ancho 1 pie, 10 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 1176.

Exhibitions +

El Bosco
01.09.2001 - 11.11.2001

Location +

Room 056A (On Display)

Update date: 15-12-2015 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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