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56 Temptation of St. Anthony by Paintings by Norman Neasom (1915 - 2010)

56 Temptation of St. Anthony by Paintings by Norman Neasom (1915 - 2010)

Temptation of St. Anthony

Watercolour: Signed and dated 1956

Image Area: 14ins x 20ins

The Many Temptations of St. Anthony

According to Time, “In the 3rd Century, Saint Anthony the Egyptian renounced all worldly joys and went off into the Arabian Desert to live the life of a hermit, often he would glance up from his prayers to see Satan hovering before him in the gloom of his abandoned fort. However Satan was hard to recognize as he usually looked like the things Anthony missed most.”

These visual motifs of St. Anthony’s tale have inspired countless artists to draw their worst nightmares. They populated their paintings with the creepiest, crawliest creatures they could conjure. The Surrealists – namely Dalí and Ernst – specialized in nightmares and so they used their imaginations to their fullest extent. All the artworks were titled "The Temptation of St. Anthony"

According to his biographer, the rigorous asceticism practised by St Anthony in the Egyptian desert allowed him to levitate in the air, where he was attacked by devils trying to beat him to the ground

The temptations in Dalí’s painting arrive in the form of a nightmarish parade. Lust is represented by a nude woman balanced precariously on a teetering pedestal. The spider-legged elephants are topped with phallic towers and some sort of ornate sex palace. But it appears as though St. Anthony’s faith is about to topple them all

Norman’s painting of “The Temptation of Saint Anthony” has a similar theme to Dali’s but is far more suggestive towards the lust of the nude girl than the nightmarish interpretations of his peers which somehow romanticises the subject in a very provocative manner. The panting is also making other suggestions by the courting couples in the background of the picture that maybe St. Anthony should follow their example and give way to the temptation

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