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The Temptations of Saint Anthony
El Bosco
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El Bosco

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

The Temptations of Saint Anthony

1510 - 1515. 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. Felipe II sent it to the Monastery of El Escorial, from whence it entered the Prado Museum.


Technical data

Inventory number
El Bosco
The Temptations of Saint Anthony
1510 - 1515
Oak panel
High/Height: 73 cm.; Width: 52.5 cm.
Juan de Benavides, Marquis of Cortes (d. 1563), prior to 1563; purchased at his posthumous sale by Philip II; sent by Philip II to the monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial on 8 May 1572; in El Escorial until moved to the Museo del Prado in 1839

Bibliography +

Ponz, Antonio, Viage de España. Vol. I, Joachin Ibarra, Madrid, 1773, pp. 106.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hieronymus Bosch. Das Gesamtwerk, Belser Verlag, 2001.

Elsig, Frédéric, Jheronimus Bosch. La question de la chronologie, Droz, Genève, 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.]., Hirmer, Múnich, 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, De El Bosco a Tiziano: arte y maravilla en El Escorial, Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 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, his patrons and his public . International Jheronimus Bosch Conference (3trd) 16-18 september 2012. 's-Hertogenbosch, 2014, pp. 190-205 [191].

Santos Bueso, Enrique., Oftalmología en el Museo del Prado, Gertograf, 2015, pp. 64.

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 +

Bosch. The 5th Centenary Exhibition
31.05.2016 - 11.09.2016

El Bosco
01.09.2001 - 11.11.2001

Location +

Room A (Temporary Exhibition)

Update date: 26-05-2016 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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