Netherlandish School ca 1520
Temptation of Saint Anthony


Saint Anthony is kneeling down on a rock in prayer. In front of him, devilish monsters try to distract him from his faith. This delicately painted panel might be a fragment of what once was a larger panel in which the landscape and the 'Boschian' monsters were given more space.
A photograph of this painting was found in the photographic archive of the German art historian Max J. Friedländer (1867-1958) that was bequeathed to the RKD in 1958 (see RKDimages nr. 52306). On the reverse, 'Drey / London / I. 46' is annotated in Friedländer's handwriting. Another handwriting mentions the former attribution 'Patinir', which refers to the renowned early 16th-century landscape painter Joachim Patinir (1475/80-1524).
Saint Anthony the Great,
The present panel depicts the Temptation of Saint Anthony as told in the Legenda Aurea, or Golden Legend. The verdant scenery, Gothic, modest drapery and devilish creatures, which so powerfully evoke the wilderness and the spiritual torment which the saint suffered there, are borrowed from the oeuvre of Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516). Bosch’s circa 1500 triptych conserved in the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon, and another treatment of the subject in the Museo Lázaro Galdiano, Madrid, appear to be the main antecedents of the present panel. The current work, executed by a gifted follower, may be compared with other treatments of the same subject by followers of Bosch, such as that conserved in the Gemaldegalerie, Berlin (inv. no. 1647) which shows the hermit depicted in a greater space, yet still with a rock for a lectern. 

There is a photograph of the present work, with an old attribution to Bosch’s contemporary, ‘Patinir’ (Joachim, circa 1480–1524) written upon it, in the archive of M. J. Friedländer, that was deposited at the RKD, The Hague.

 

 

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Art dealer Francis A. Drey, London, 1946 (as Joachim Patinir);
Private collection, Antwerp.
 
Art dealer Francis A. Drey, London, 1946 (as Joachim Patinir);
Private collection, Antwerp.
 

Netherlandish School ca 1520