National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of The Temptation of Saint Anthony Follower of Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Anonymous Artist (painter)
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (related artist)
Flemish, c. 1525/1530 - 1569
The Temptation of Saint Anthony, c. 1550/1575
oil on panel
overall: 58.5 x 85.7 cm (23 1/16 x 33 3/4 in.) framed: 77.8 x 104.8 x 7.6 cm (30 5/8 x 41 1/4 x 3 in.)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
1952.2.19
On View
From the Tour: Antwerp in the Early 1500s
Object 6 of 7

Pieter Bruegel, the preeminent artist of the mid-sixteenth century, was described by his friend, the mapmaker Abraham Ortelius, as “Nature’s own rival,” and is best known for powerful and evocative scenes that combine landscape and views of peasant life.

This panel was painted by one of his followers but incorporates elements from Bruegel’s own landscapes, the broad silvery river, for example, and a drawing he made of the same subject, Saint Anthony. We see the saint twice. In a foreground hut he resists the devil’s temptations, a motif copied from Bruegel’s drawing. In the upper left, Anthony is tortured and carried aloft. Fantastic demons and bizarre images recall the work of Hieronymus Bosch (d. 1516), who was extremely popular in the later sixteenth century. In those years, northern Europe endured warfare and religious violence. Perhaps these monsters reflect a view of a world gone mad.

While most northern artists traveled to Italy to study the remains of ancient Rome and the masterpieces of high Renaissance art, Bruegel was the first to go simply to experience the scenery. To most travelers of the time, mountains suggested only peril: brigands and bad weather. Far from avoiding the Alps, however, Bruegel seems to have gone out of his way to cross back and forth over them. They often appear, snowcapped, in the backgrounds of his works.

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Artist Information (Anonymous Artist)
Artist Information (Pieter Bruegel the Elder)
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