The painting The Temptation of Saint Anthony by Joos van Craesbeeck is known to be one of the most haunting depictions in religious paintings of temptation in the history of art. In this work, Saint Anthony, the patron saint of hermits, finds himself surrounded by a multitude of grotesque demons who harass and tempt him in his solitude.
What is interesting about this painting is that, although the work is clearly a religious representation, Joos van Craesbeeck painted it in a style very typical of the Flemish school of the 17th century, characterized by the exaggeration of details and the intensity of contrasts. of light and shadow. This makes the painting even more shocking and disturbing for the viewer.
Furthermore, it is believed that this work was influenced by the artist's own personal experience, who was known for leading a tumultuous life and for his addiction to alcohol. Joos van Craesbeeck is said to have been tempted by his own inner demons, which may have influenced his vivid and eerie depiction of temptation in this masterpiece.
In the painting it seems that Craesbeeck wants to warn his fellow men. And in doing so he follows a popular medieval tradition. In the image the theme of the macabre head is influenced by the "tricks" of Hieronymus Bosch , Pieter Brueghel and their followers.