Saturday, January 17, 2009

Antony of Egypt Art Appreciation Day

It’s his feast day today, so I picked up my copy of Athanasius’s The Life of Antony to read up on him (Wikipedia bio). A short book, and well worth reading, of the saint battling the demons in a tomb and out in the desert, overcoming their attempts to break him through his discipline and faith in Christ. But I thought I’d surf the net for some other resources on him that might be interesting, and found some things I had not expected – some classic works of art that I’ve seen several times before but have never fully appreciated.

First, there is Hieronymus Bosch's triptych painting The Temptation of St. Anthony. Hieronymus Bosch’s artwork has always fascinated me, I used to spend time just looking through books in the library that showed all the weird details, but I never made the connection between this painting and the story of Antony. (I can’t post the painting here without dismembering it considerably so you’ll have to follow the link above for an image.)

Then there is The Temptation of St. Anthony, by Salvador Dalí. Now I’ve never really appreciated much the stuff by Salvador Dalí, I’ve always kind of found it a little too tripped out for me, but with now reading Athanasius’s book on Antony this painting has taken on a new meaning, and I think in many ways it captures the feeling of what I'm reading.

So, since it is Antony’s feast day, I think I’ll spend some time feasting and meditating on these paintings in relation to what I've been read from Athanasius. And I think I’ll try to find more detailed pictures of the paintings. Have fun viewing.

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