Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The temptation of Saint Anthony by Hieronymus Bosch at Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon

It is said that Hieronymus Bosch's spiritual heroes were those saints who endured both physical and mental torment and among those his favourite was St. Anthony, whose ordeals are focused on in his outstanding tryptych to be seen at Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga in Lisbon. 
The 1500 oil on panel trypthych with the central panel on the tempting act of the Saint, the right wing displaying the Saint in meditation and the right wing focused on his flight and failure stands out with such and amount of singular and bizarre images of torment and monster-like figures one wouldn't want to dream of, that have characterised many of Bosch's later creations.

The fact that the Museum allows the tryptyc to be photographed does make a difference ... it is as if for moments one had captured those tormenting images ... and turned them into our own fears ... not so much the fears of temptation but those of punishing judgement.


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