Inventory number
P01615
Author
Massys, Quentin; Patinir, Joachim
Title
The Temptations of Saint Anthony the Abbot
Chronology
1520 - 1524
Technique
Oil
Support
Panel
Dimensions
155 cm x 173 cm
School
Flemish
Theme
Religion
On display
Yes
Provenance
Colección Real (colección de Felipe II, Monasterio del Escorial, Madrid, capilla mayor de la iglesia vieja, probablemente desde 1566).

Saint Anthony, in the center of a broad landscape, is surrounded by three beautiful women who try to make him eat the apple of sin. Behind them, an old bawd represents trickery and incitation to evil. A monkey, considered an animal as lecherous as the young devils, pulls at the saint's clothes. In the middle ground are scenes from Jacopo de la Vorágnie's Golden Legend, including the diverse temptations Saint Anthony suffered at the hands of demons or beautiful nude women behind which the devil hides.

The landscape is typical of works by Patinir, with sharp crags in the middle ground and a high horizon. While only Patinir's signature appears on this work, Quentin Massys' participation in the depiction of the figures has been accepted since the mid sixteenth century. The model of the old woman is similar, in some ways, to his Old Woman Tearing at Her Hair (P03074).

This painting belonged to Felipe II, who gave it to El Escorial in 1574.

 
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