Henry Crapo, a Canadian mathematician, has donated The Temptation of Saint Anthony by James Ensor to the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp. He bought it in the early sixties in Boston. The painting is an exquisite acquisition for the Ensor collection of the museum. With 39 paintings and some 650 drawings to its name, the museum boasts not only the largest but also a very diverse Ensor collection.
James Ensor (1860-1949) painted The Temptation of Saint Anthony in 1927. In previous designs, Ensor still looked at classical examples of this subject. This 'Temptation of Saint Anthony' is painted freely. The Egyptian saint is placed within cheerfully floating women and other tempting people, in pastel shades. A harlequin offers him a sausage. The icing on the cake is a margin with masks surrounding the scene completely. This creates a sinister undertone. Imperturbably, Saint Anthony reads the bible that is on his lap.
In March, 'The Temptation of Saint Anthony' will get a conservation treatment in the conservation studio of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts.
James Ensor (1860-1949), The Tempation of Saint Anthony, 1927
© KMSKA – Lukas-Art in Flanders vzw, foto Rik Klein Gotink