The Devil in the Detail
[The top image is the complete work – click on it for a reasonably large sized version – and the images below are details from it]
Jacques Callot (1592-1635) created the above etching – The Temptation of St Anthony – in the last year of his life. It is likely that his previous depiction of St Anthony from 1617 is online(Artcylopedia) but I couldn’t find it. In the intervening period there had been a brutal invasion of his native land, the Lorraine Duchy, by the French, which probably influenced the nature of some of the details in this wonderfully grotesque and severe portrayal.
St Anthony lived sometime during the 3rd and 4th centuries and is said to have established the religious practice of ascetism. Legend (recorded by Athanasius) has our hermit Saint beseiged by the devil on a number of occasions, projected in the present circumstances as phantoms of wild beasts, wolves, lions, snakes and scorpions.
- Date painted: 1987
- Acrylic & collage on card, 38 x 46 cm
- Collection: Arts Council Collection