Lucjan Wędrychowski
Temptation of St. Anthony, 1886
Gift of the artist, 1896

material: oil on canvas

dimensions: 235 × 165 cm

description: Lucjan Wędrychowski, a student of the School of Fine Arts in Krakow and the academy in Munich, was particularly interested in religious painting. However, in his works he did not go beyond the concepts typical of the alumni of academies and the religious painting of the second half of the 19th century, according to which traditional subjects were supposed to be “made more realistic” and provided with the elements of historical probability by resigning from codified types of representation and accepted attributes. Temptation of Saint Anthony is listed among the most important works of the artist, who rendered the motif employed from the Middle Ages in an unusual way here. While the iconographic tradition was dominated by the image of the saint in ecstatic prayer, struggling with monsters and lecherous temptresses, Wędrychowski portrayed the eremite deep in meditation. Smoke is trailing from a fire in the background, from which emerges a charming female figure, a harbinger of anguish awaiting the hermit. Reduced surroundings, a cross lying to the right of Saint Anthony and a book leaning against a skull emphasize the ascetic lifestyle of the Coptic monk. Barbara Ciciora

exposition: The Gallery of 19th Century Polish Art in Sukiennice,
The Cloth Hall, 1, Main Market Square

key: Around the academy >>>

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