Saint Anthony

Losing the thread?

Sorry, a diversion. 
   Whoever it was that painted this image of St Anthony looking in some alarm at the (now non-existent) heap of gold was an extraordinary artist. Timothy Hyman, in Sienese Painting, says that the loss of the heap of gold was a blessing in one sense - in removing the main focus of the picture, we look at the landscape.  I would add something further - the picture now suggests that  only Anthony could see the gold - it wasn't really there at all. 
      This landscape shows an artist with ideas well before his time. The wild sky, the strange, threatening trees, the solitary animals, the eerie rock formations, the lonely ship on the lake sailing towards the dark tower, all reflect the psychological state of the  the solitary figure - more de Chirico than 14th century Siena, more Jung than fourth century theology. Salvador Dali had a go at it, (see below), but didn't  come close to the power of the Sienese Master. For me, there is a powerful modern parallel, however; one so well known I don't really need to label it.

The Scream - Edvard Munch
Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo

Temptations of St Anthony - Salvador Dali
Musées Royaux des Beaux - Arts de Belgique, Brussels

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