The Many Temptations of St. Anthony the Great (VII)

Joos van Craesbeeck
Craesbeeck LARGE
The Temptation of St Anthony (1652 – oil on canvas, 116 x 78 cm) – Museum der Bildenden Künste, Leipzig.


Joos van Craesbeeck (c. 1605/06 – c. 1660) was a Flemish baker … yes. Also a painter, and a very interesting and daring one, indeed; especially for his rough tavern scenes and dissolute portraits.

His depiction of our theme is clearly inspired by the H. Bosch’s triptych, painted one century and a half before (circa 1501), and very possibly by works by Pieter Brueghel the Elder.

Although a large terrified head dominates the painting, the Saint seats down under a quite devastated tree at the right, reading -or trying to read- while a maid (which is not a maid: look at her bright red, clawed foot) applies herself to seduce him, under the glances of a devil-like goat and a barely seen naked creature inside the tree :


2764_Craesbeeck 001

The big head looks a bit like the Saint’s, if younger. It is vomiting all sort of monsters, and its open forehead shows several men inside, one of them an ugly-faced painter (maybe the author, who had no reticence at depicting himself quite ugly; and, in fact, if his painting “The Smoker” is, as presumed, a self-portrait, then the head here is his own, too) – [You can look at “The Smoker” at the bottom of the page]

From the crowded nest at the top, fly away a big number of birds: red, white and black, which could mean thoughts of different nature. Some of them, posed on the tree -the owl, the peacock and others-, seem to be dropping excrements over the Saint :


2764_Craesbeeck 001


Same detail of the header, seen entirely :


2764_Craesbeeck 001


Der Raucher oder Der Trinker (The Smoker or The Drinker) – by Joos van Craesbeeck, 1635-36. Possibly a self-portrait
Musée du Louvre, Paris


2 thoughts on “The Many Temptations of St. Anthony the Great (VII)

    1. Hello, Katie ! It’s been a long time indeed –some three years, I think.
      Not all is well with me, in truth; live is hard, and the harder the older you get. But I stand this as quietly as I can -like most people do.
      I appreciate very much you presence here again, so swiftly, and you interest in me. It feels good. So thank you very much 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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