Tentation De Saint-Antoine (Temptation Of St. Anthony), Plate 21

Odilon Redon

French, 1840 - 1916

Tentation de Saint-Antoine (Temptation of St. Anthony), Plate 21, 1896

  • Not On View

Lithograph on Chine appliqué paper

Dimensions: 17 1/4 × 13 in. (43.8 × 33 cm)
Image: 10 1/2 × 7 1/4 in. (26.7 × 18.4 cm)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard E. DeVore in memory of Libbie B. Winegarden, 1961.8

Odilon Redon’s art is commonly associated with the artistic movement known as Symbolism, which was popular at the end of the nineteenth century along with Impressionism. Symbolism diverged from Realism in its belief that a work of art should contain imagery that renders the notion of certain things or ideas without direct representation. Redon was no longer living when Surrealism arose, but he is known as a precursor to the movement as his art encompasses many of the concepts upheld by the Surrealists.In 1888, Redon began producing the first of three series of lithographs depicting themes from Gustave Flaubert's novel, La Tentation de Saint-Antoine (The Temptation of St. Anthony). Based on the story of the third century saint who lived in isolation in the desert, it describes a single night in which St. Anthony is besieged by carnal temptations and philosophical doubt. This lithograph (plate XXI of the third series), entitled J'ai quelquefois aperçue dans le ciel comme des formes d'espirits (I Have Sometimes Seen in the Sky What Seemed Like Forms of Spirits) demonstrates Redon's great skill at adapting literature into arresting visual images. The dreamlike symbolism of La Tentation de Saint-Antoine confirms Redon's belief that art "should exercise upon the spectator, through a process of attraction, all the evocative power, all the charm of the vague that lies at the extreme limits of thought."

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