Altarpiece. Shrine. right panel. Temptation of St. Anthony.
||Mathias Grünewald belongs to the family
of Bosch, Brueghel and Schongauer. His paintings are born of the mystery
of the supernatural, and exhibit teeming life and hideous, demonic creations,
as we see in these details from The Temptation of Saint Anthony. One of
the nine panels Grünewald executed for the altar piece of Issenheim,
this painting reprises a favorite subject of the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries, the hermit saint assailed by the entire arsenal of infernal
monsters representing every weakness, every ugly human failing. It is a
subject rich in implications for the fantastic, staging the drama of the
double, the riddle of the hallucinatory or altered state of mind, and,
not least, the problems of evil and of guilt. The theme would be revived
in the nineteenth century, the golden age of the Fantastic, most notably
by Flaubert. It would then tempt, in its turn, numerous book illustrators.