The Temptations of Saint Anthony1500 - 1510. Oil on oak panel, 70 x 115 cm.
Wearing the habit of his order, the saint meditates in a prayerful way in the foreground, unaware of anything happening around him. He is identifiable by his customary symbols, the Greek letter tau painted in blue on his habit, and the staff on the stone. Monstrous beings and demons flutter around him, alluding to the temptations of evil. The house, whose fantastic roof is the head of an old woman, probably alludes to a house of prostitution, as is revealed by the swan emblem on its door. The young, naked woman in the doorway symbolizes the temptations of the flesh, which the saint decisively faces off. On the left, a monastery of his order is in flames —an allusion to their loosening of regulations. A work of quality, this is unique among Bosch´s paintings in its placement of the figure in the foreground. It has been considered a copy of a lost original, made during Bosch´s lifetime, or a piece from his workshop.