The Temptation of St. Anthony, 17th century

Saint Anthony was a hermit in the 300s, rarely emerging from the cave where he lived in the Egyptian desert. But even there, according to legend, his faith in God was fought by the devil. The devil sent demons to beat him and alluring women to distract him from his prayers. Saint Anthony never wavered.

Anthony’s story proved popular with artists and their clients, just as evil creatures and sexy women are popular in all types of media today. David Teniers’ painting of the story was so sought after that there are at least five known versions. Teniers probably painted a prototype, which was then partly copied by his assistants. He would complete the copies by executing some of the trickiest elements, such as the books, vessels, and crucifix.

The Temptation of St. Anthony
Artist Life
Accession Number
(Herman Shickman Gallery, New York, New York by 1975); sold to MIA in 1976.
Curator Approved

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