Museums and Art

The Temptation of St. Anthony, Matthias Grunewald - description of the painting

The Temptation of St. Anthony, Matthias Grunewald - description of the painting

The temptation of St. Anthony is Matthias Grunewald. The lower part of the Isengheim Altar.

St. Anthony is a significant figure in the Christian religion. This is the first reliably known person in the history of monasticism, which also has become synonymous with the struggle against temptation, with carnal desires, "personal" and inspired demons tormenting flesh and spirit. It is not surprising that such a character was often depicted in religious canvases, included in the altars. The “Isengheim Altar” by the remarkable German Renaissance painter, Matthias Grunewald, was no exception.

Today, very few Grünewald's works have been preserved (no more than a dozen), but from those works that have reached the modern viewer, the most significant is undoubtedly the Isengheim Altar, which includes the picture of Temptation of St. Anthony (left side wing) .

Saint Anthony is depicted quite in the spirit of that time - a defeated, but not broken old man with a long beard, but the tormenting demons were significantly different from the generally accepted interpretations (just compare the picture with Bosch’s work on the same plot). The demons here are cruel and ruthless. Grunewald presents them in the form of ferocious powerful monsters.

An attentive viewer will notice that there are seven demons in the picture. This is the direct embodiment of the seven deadly sins: an orange hippo with wings is gluttony; the ugly lizard that clings to the Saint in his hand is greed; the horned monster that pulls Anthony by the hair is the prototype of envy.

Immediately we note the variety of colors that Grunewald uses. The picture is literally replete with saturated colors: red, yellow, gray. The compositional and coloristic center can be called the garment of St. Anthony, solved in an interesting saturated color of the sea wave.

You can also notice interesting contrasts. The foreground is literally "teeming" with evil spirits, whose appearance frightens and repels, but in the background there are snow-white chalk cliffs framed by a serene blue sky.

A large yellow spot in the sky, as a symbol of light, heat, something higher, is also no coincidence here. Researchers believe that this is a hint of the presence of God the Father, who came to the aid of the righteous, who left to fight with his temptations in the Egyptian desert. This makes the viewer think about the successful outcome of the orgy.


Watch the video: GRÜNEWALD Matthias, Isenheim Altarpiece for Good Friday manortiz (November 2021).