Giovanni Girolamo Savoldo, active 1508-after 1548
Torment of St. Anthony, ca. 1515-20
Oil on panel, 69.5 x 119.4 cm (27-3/8 x 47 in.)
Saint Anthony, a Christian hermit, gave his wealth to the poor when he was a young man. Living in solitude, he devoted himself to prayer but was tormented by the Devil in the form of demons and evil spirits. Giovanni Girolamo Savoldo shows Saint Anthony with his hands clasped in prayer, fleeing from a dark, hellish vision into a pastoral landscape bathed in warm daylight. Like other northern Italian painters of the time, Savoldo was interested in Flemish painting, which was well known in Venice, particularly Hieronymous Bosch's nightmarish monsters, which influenced his depiction of Saint Anthony's tormentors. As the saint flees, his hands point to a monastery, a reminder that he was the father of monasticism.
Dr. William Dean, England, his sale, Sotheby’s, London, April 27, 1960, lot 91
Acquired by the Putnam Foundation, 1965