Within the Timken Museum of Art there is a painting, a painting that represents the dilemma within the life of a saint. Giovanni Girolamo Savoldo calls this painting The Torment of Saint Anthony. Savoldo’s painting is framed along a wall of light and dark red arrows with artificial and natural light from above. Within this airy space deemed The Walter Fitch III Room this painting is surrounded by various art pieces from around the world; most of which are religious art pieces. Though each of these paintings are very unique and have much to offer the focus of this essay will be on that of the painting known as The Torment of Saint Anthony.
Starting his painting in 1508 Savoldo set out to create an interpretation of St. Anthony’s torment in his own unique way. This 27 3/8x47 in. painting describes St. Anthony fleeing from the torment of demonic creatures and evil spirits as he attempts to reach a land of pleasantry and peace. These Treacherous creatures in the right portion of the painting are depicted similarly to the demonic creatures in Hieronymus Bosch’s painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights. In the bottom right portion of the painting there are two creatures inside a coliseum near a boiling kettle that contains a human head inside it. This could be a representation made by Savoldo of a possible result of what happens if one does not repent one’s sins and cannot escape these demons. The entire right portion of this art piece is a representation of Hell and all it has to offer. The burning civilization or town in the right background displays the confines in which demons, evil spirits, and those who must suffer with them dwell. The right foreground seems to be a possible entrance to this demonic place and this is the part of the painting with the most action taking place. Bird Creatures are eating humans, a half bull, half bird creature is carrying another creature with a sack of human body parts, and a ship in an illuminated cave tunnel has burning men all...
Bibliography: Michael A. Jacobsen, “Savoldo and Northern Art,” The Art Bulletin Vol. 56, No. 4 (Dec., 1974), pp. 530-534, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3049299
Hal Fischer/Fonia W. Simpson, Ed., Timken Museum of Art: European Works of Art, American Paintings, and Russian Icons in the Putnam Foundation Collection (San Diego, CA: Putnam Foundation, Inc., 1996) 53-57
David Alan Brown; Sylvia Ferino Pagden; Jaynie Anderson; Barbara Berrie, Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, and the Renaissance of Venetian painting (Washington : National Gallery of Art ; Vienna : Kunsthistorisches Museum, in association with Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2006) 136-139
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