Egypt in Minnesota

St. Anthony

pictorial tradtion stemming from Athanasius' Life of Anthony (see timeline)

site map or introductory page

St. Anthony (or Antony) commonly appears with a long white beard. Often he is cloaked and hooded.

In the East, icons like the one immediately to the right often show Anthony as a calm, outward gazing figure. In the West, he may be shown at prayer, or as a reader surrounded by demons (see below).

Dürer, 1519, detail

The demons ...were changed into the form of beasts and reptiles. the place immediately was filled with the appearances of lions, bears, leopards, bulls, and serpents, asps, scorpions and wolves...The lion roared...; the bull seemed intent on goring; the creeping snake did not quite reach him; the onrushing wolf made straight for him..from .Athansius' Life of Antony 9 ,Gregg 1980.

detail of picture at left: the 'onrushing wolf', the creeping snake, and a scorpion climbing a step.




In the West, artists concentrate on his encounters with demons, referred to as his "temptations". These encounters are less frequently shown in the East, but one Eastern example can be seen above. Grünewald, Temptation of St. Anthony., details



Fra Angelico

St. Anthony goes to visit St. Paul (a still more remote hermit). On the way, he meets a centaur.

It is St. Jerome who tells us this story, as well as the one depicted on the preceding page in which St. Anthony sees a large lump of gold and flees from it.