The Temptation of St Anthony Pieter Bruegel Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The Temptation of St Anthony persisted throughout the Northern and Italian Renaissances and in this example Bruegel the Elder uses his skills as a draughtsman to put together his own take on this religious theme.

This is another complex drawing from Bruegel which combines his skills as a draughtsman and etcher with the imagination necessary to produce creatures from fantasy and combine them into a scene that looks believable. This style is similar to Bosch, another significant Netherlandish artist, who also held skills in a variety of mediums.

Salvador Dali, a monumental surrealist artist from the 20th century, famously created his own version of the Temptation of St Anthony with an approach which is about as far from the drawing that you find here as is possible. This underlines how art has changed over the centuries, with surrealism being a relatively recent development but still well worthy of academic note.

This particular drawing from Bruegel features Bosch-like creatures that appear from the very depth of his imagination whilst the touches of nature around the exterior of the piece are standard items such as trees and flowers. He loved to combine the real with the surreal and perhaps wanted to try these experiements within study drawings before undertaking larger oil paintings.