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The Temptation of Saint Anthony, extract from Antoine Roegier's film

The Temptation of Saint Anthony is an often-repeated subject in the history of art and literature, concerning the supernatural temptation reportedly faced by Saint Anthony the Great during his …More
The Temptation of Saint Anthony is an often-repeated subject in the history of art and literature, concerning the supernatural temptation reportedly faced by Saint Anthony the Great during his sojourn in the Egyptian desert. Anthony's temptation is first discussed by Athanasius of Alexandria, Anthony's contemporary, and from then became a popular theme in Western culture.

The common medieval subject, included in the Golden Legend and other sources, shows Saint Anthony being tempted or assailed in the desert by demons, whose temptations he resisted; the Temptation of St Anthony (or Trial...) is the more common name of the subject. But strictly there are at least two different episodes deriving from Athanasius's Life of St. Anthony and later versions of the life that may be represented, though all usually have this name. The most common is the temptation, by seductive women and other demonic forms, but the Martin Schongauer composition (copied by Michelangelo) probably shows a later episode where St Anthony, normally flown about the desert supported by angels, was ambushed and attacked in mid-air by devils.[1] Anasthasius describes another episode where the saint was attacked on the ground.