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FEAST - A Saint for the Day (Jan. 17): St. Anthony of Egypt


John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>


medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture <[log in to unmask]>


Sun, 17 Jan 2016 22:50:06 +0000





text/plain (1 lines)

medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

The desert father Anthony of Egypt (d. ca. 356; in English also Antony; also A. [the] Abbot, A. the Great, and A. the Hermit) is probably well known to everyone on this list through his Bios by Athanasius of Alexandria (BHG 140), either directly or in one or more translations.  Apart from one letter in Greek and seven (perhaps not authentic) surviving in Latin translation, his sayings in the _Apophthegmata Patrum_, and some details in a Bios of St. Pachomius, this is really our only source for Anthony in his lifetime (St. Jerome's subsequent treatment of him in his Vita of St. Paul of Thebes, also widely read in the Middle Ages, is essentially fiction).  An idealizing portrait of a model for imitation, influential in the conversion of St. Augustine of Hippo, Athanasius' Bios presents Anthony as an unlettered man of great wisdom who gave away his goods and retired to the desert.  There he fought with demons and attracted disciples whom he organized as a monastic community before retreating again into near solitude.

Anthony's reputation was already impressive in his lifetime.  His cult, which will have been virtually immediate, is attested in the East starting in the fifth century.  In the West, where Evagrius of Antioch's fourth-century translation of Athanasius' Bios into Latin (BHL 609) enjoyed very widespread circulation, Anthony is entered under today in the martyrologies from Bede onward.

Some period-pertinent images of St. Anthony of Egypt:

a) as portrayed (conducting the funeral of St. Paul of Thebes) on the north side of the tenth-century Cross of the Scriptures at the former monastery of Clonmacnoise (county Offaly):


b) as depicted in the mid-tenth-century mosaics of the Nea Moni on Chios:


c) as depicted (at right in the lower left-hand panel; at left, St. Paul of Thebes) in a detached portion of a probably mid-tenth-century triptych (painted in Constantinople?) in the Holy Monastery of the God-trodden Mount Sinai, St. Catherine (South Sinai governorate):


d) as depicted (burying St. Paul of Thebes) in the earlier eleventh-century "imperial" menologion for January in the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore (ms. W. 521, fol. 28r):


e) as depicted in an early twelfth-century fresco in the church of the Panagia Episkopi near Mesa Gonia on Santorini (Cyclades prefecture):


f) as portrayed (at left, breaking bread with St. Paul of Thebes) on an earlier twelfth-century nave capital (ca. 1125) in the basilique Sainte-Marie-Madeleine at Vézelay:



g) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Agatha) in the late twelfth-century mosaics (ca. 1182) of the choir in the basilica cattedrale di Santa Maria Nuova in Monreale:


h) as depicted (at far left) in a late twelfth- or early thirteenth-century fresco in the altar area of the Palaia Enkleistra ("Old Hermitage") in the St. Neophytus monastery at Tala near Paphos in the Republic of Cyprus:


i) as depicted in a later thirteenth-century copy of the _Vitae Patrum _ in French (ca. 1251-1275; Carpentras, Bibliothèque municipale Inguimbertine, ms. 473, fol. 5v):


j) as depicted in the late thirteenth-century frescoes (ca. 1295) by Eutychios and Michael Astrapas in the church the Peribleptos (now Sv. Kliment Ohridski) in Ohrid:


Detail view:


k) as depicted in the thirteenth- or fourteenth-century frescoes (restored betw. 1992 and 1997) of the cripta San Leonardo at Massafra (TA) in southern Apulia:


l) as depicted (at center) in a fourteenth-century fresco in the chiesa di San Giorgio in Lemine in Almenno San Salvatore (BG) in Lombardy:


m) as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century mosaic (ca. 1312) in the parecclesion (now a museum) of the former church of the Pammakaristos (Fethiye camii) in Istanbul:



n) as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. ca. 1314 and ca. 1320) by Michael Astrapas and Eutychios in the church of St. Nicetas the Goth (Sv. Nikita) at Čučer in today's Čučer-Sandevo in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:


Detail view:


Note the elaborate pilgrim's badge for an as yet unidentified site apparently famous for its roller coaster (Coney Island?  Brighton Pier?  Dream Park in Cairo?)

o) as depicted (with a demon at his back; giving away his wealth and then entering his hermitage in the wilderness) in an earlier fourteenth-century copy of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1326-1350; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 185, fol. 211v):


p) as depicted in the mid-fourteenth-century frescoes of the monastery church of St. Michael the Archangel at Lesnovo in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:


Detail view:


q) as depicted in a mid-fourteenth-century copy, from the workshop of Richard and Jeanne de Montbaston, of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (1348; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 241, fol. 41r):


r) as depicted by Nardo di Cione in a predella panel of his mid-fourteenth-century Bojnice altarpiece (after 1350) belonging to the Bojnice Castle Museum, Bojnice (Trenčíansky kraj), Slovakia (when this photograph was taken in 2013 the altarpiece was on display in the Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava):



s) as depicted (bas-de-page scenes from Evagrius of Antioch's Latin version of Anthony's Athanasian Bios) in a later fourteenth-century copy, of Neapolitan origin, of the _Vitae patrum_ (betw. 1350 and 1375; New York, J. Pierpont Morgan Library and Museum; Morgan Ms. M.626, fols. 5r-21v), beginning here:


t) as depicted by Puccio di Simone in a mid-fourteenth-century panel painting (1353; from an altarpiece) in the Pinacoteca Civica "B.Molajoli" in Frabriano (AV) in the Marche:


Detail view:


u) as depicted by Theodoric of Prague in a later fourteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1360-1364) in the chapel of the Holy Cross at Karlštejn Castle, Karlštejn, Czech Republic‎:


v) as portrayed in relief on a later fourteenth-century silver-gilt? reliquary for one of his fingers presented to the church of Ancona in 1380 by the Latin patriarch of Constantinople Paul Tagaris (Palaiologos) and now in the Museo diocesano di Ancona:


w) as depicted by the Troyes Master in the late fourteenth-century Hours of Prigent de Coëtivy (Rennes, Bibliothèque de Rennes Métropole, ms. 1511, fol. 209v):


x) as depicted in a late fourteenth-century book of hours for the Use of Besançon (before 1398; Vesoul, Bibliothèque municipale Louis-Garret, ms. 27, fol. 110v):


y) as portrayed in a fifteenth-century wooden statue in the Kirche St. Severin at Keitum, an _Ortsteil_ of Sylt (Lkr. Nordfriesland), Schleswig-Holstein:


z) as portrayed in a fifteenth-century polychromed wooden statue in the Hospice de la Charité at Beaune (Côte-d'Or) in Bourgogne:


aa) as depicted (at lower left; at upper right, St. Paul of Thebes) in the early fifteenth-century _Belles Heures_ of Jean de France, duc de Berry (ca. 1407; New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters Collection, ms. 1954 [54.1.1], fol. 191v):


bb) as depicted (at right left in the wing at right; at left on the same wing, St. Juvenal of Narni) by Masaccio in his earlier fifteenth-century San Giovenale triptych (1422) in the Museo Masaccio at Cascia di Reggello (FI) in Tuscany:


cc) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Macarius the Elder) in an earlier fifteenth-century psalter and other religious texts from the Tigray region of Ethiopia (ca. 1426-1450; Paris, BnF, ms. Éthiopien d'Abbadie 105, fol. 79v):


dd) as depicted (second from left) in the earlier or mid-fifteenth-century lancets (w. 137; ca. 1434-1466) below the west rose window in the cathédrale Saint-Gatien in Tours:


Detail view:


ee) as depicted (tempted by a heap of gold) by the Master of the Osservanza in an earlier fifteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1435) in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York:



ff) as depicted in the Suffrages of the earlier to mid-fifteenth-century Hours of Françoise de Dinan (ca. 1435-1450; a.k.a. Hours of Catherine de Rohan and of Françoise de Dinan; Rennes, Bibliothèque de Rennes Métropole, ms. 34bis [pt. 2 of ms. 15942], fol. 90r):


gg) as depicted (tempted by a heap of gold) by Beato Angelico in an earlier fifteenth-century panel painting (1436) in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston:


hh) as portrayed in high relief (at right; at left, St. Paul of Thebes) on the mid-fifteenth-century north portal (ca. 1442) of the Justinuskirche in Höchst, a _Stadtteil_ of Frankfurt am Main:


ii) as portrayed in high relief on a stall end in the mid-fifteenth-century choir stalls (ca. 1450) in the Justinuskirche in Höchst, a _Stadtteil_ of Frankfurt am Main:



jj) as depicted in grisaille by Jean le Tavernier in the mid-fifteenth-century Hours of Philip of Burgundy (ca. 1451-1460; Den Haag, KB, ms. 76 F 2, fol. 265v):


kk) as depicted in a later fifteenth-century book of hours of southern Netherlandic origin (ca. 1460; Baltimore, Walters Art Gallery and Museum, ms. W. 197, fol. 16v):


ll) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Lucy) by Carlo Crivelli in a later fifteenth-century panel painting in the Muzeum Narodowe in Kraków (image expandable):


mm) as depicted in a later fifteenth- or early sixteenth-century wall painting (betw. 1470 and 1520) in the cathedral of Aarhus:


nn) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Christopher) in a later fifteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1480) in the Museo de Bellas Artes de Sevilla:



oo) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Paul of Thebes) in a late fifteenth-century book of hours for the Use of Autun (ca. 1480-1490; Autun, Bibliothèque d'Autun, ms. 269, fol. 164r):


pp) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Sebastian) in a late fifteenth-century stained glass roundel in the Museum Schnütgen, Köln:


qq) as portrayed in a late fifteenth-century polychromed statue (1485) from Worms in the Justinuskirche in Höchst, a _Stadtteil_ of Frankfurt am Main:


rr) as depicted in a late fifteenth-century book of prayers from Salzburg (ca. 1485-1495; Vienna, ÖNB, cod. 2738, fol. 316v):


ss) as depicted (The Temptation of St. Anthony) by Hieronymus Bosch in a late fifteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1490) from the Escorial, now in the Museo del Prado in Madrid:


tt) Anthony as portrayed in one of the statues of the St. Anthony Altar (ca. 1500) in the Basilika und Propsteikirche St. Viktor in Xanten (a.k.a. the Xantener Dom):


uu) as depicted in the London Rothschild Hours of southern Netherlandic origin (ca. 1500; London, BL, MS Add 35313, fol. 219v):


vv) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Theodosius the Coenobiarch) in the early sixteenth-century frescoes (1502) by Dionisy and sons in the Virgin Nativity cathedral of the St. Ferapont Belozero (Ferapontov Belozersky) monastery at Ferapontovo in Russia's Vologda oblast:


ww) as depicted in an early sixteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1510) in the Museo del Prado in Madrid:


xx) as depicted by Bartholomäus Zeitblom in an early sixteenth-century panel painting (1510) in the Staatsgalerie Füssen in Füssen (Lkr. Ostallgäu) in Bavaria:


yy) as depicted by Matthias Grünewald in the First View of early sixteenth-century his Isenheim Altarpiece (betw. 1510 and 1515) in the Musée Unterlinden, Colmar:


Detail view:


zz) as depicted (tempted by demons) in an earlier sixteenth-century stained glass roundel of south German origin (Swabian; ca. 1533) in The Cloisters Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York:




John Dillon


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