Temptation of St. Anthony (detail)

National Museum of Ancient Art (MNAA), Lisbon, Portugal

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Hieronymus Bosch, 1506

Northern Renaissance
religious painting

This triptych series detail the supernatural temptation of Saint Anthony during his stay in Egypt, a theme which has also been treated by many other artists, including Martin Schongauer, Mathias Gruenewald, Salvador Dali, and Gustave Flaubert. The symbolism in the paintings symbolizes the story, which depicts Anthony refraining from many different types of sin throughout the series. The fantastical images are typical of Bosch’s nightmarish style, complete with imps, monsters, and dysmorphic creatures. This triptych is often considered to be one of Bosch’s greatest work, and at least three copies have been reproduced, all of which are imitations of the original; one of which was thought to be the actual original.

image of Temptation of St. Anthony (detail)