COCK, Jan Wellens de
(b. ca. 1490, Leiden, d. before 1529, Antwerpen)

Temptation of St Anthony

Oil on wood, 58 x 49 cm
Christian Museum, Esztergom

St Anthony (Anthony the Great, or Anthony the Abbot, 251-356) was a Christian saint and hermit, born in Upper Egypt. On the death of his parents he distributed his property among the poor and retired into the Egyptian desert where he remained in solitude for many years. He is generally regarded as the founder of monasticism. Anthony, like some other hermits, was subject to vivid hallucinations resulting from his ascetic life in the desert. These 'temptations' assume two forms in art, assault by demons and erotic visions.

This painting, showing reminiscences of Bosch, is probably a fragment from a larger composition.