The Temptation of Saint Anthony was painted sometime between 1500-1512, close to the time of Bosch's death. It is currently located in the Museo del Prado, Madrid. (A museum in Madrid, Spain).
This piece is significant because Bosch's spiritual inspirations were saints who had endured physical and mental torment, yet remained strong and brave. Bosch's favorite saint was Saint Anthony, and therefore, the subject of his masterwork triptych. The Temptation of Saint Anthony features physical torture on the left wing, depiction of a Mass in the center, and the pleasures of food and sex on the right wing. Bosch's works often depicted themes of torment and the sins of men. He drew inspiration for such unusual images from the dark parts of the medieval imagination. He used the gargoyles, monsters and disfigured creatures of cathedrals, and the illustrations from the newspaper. During Bosch's life, temptation meant physical torture as well as punishment by demons. St Anthony is not only tempted by the pleasures of men and life but, he is being terrorized and intimidated by evil spirits and creatures.
This piece of art demonstrates the temptations that man faces. For over 20 years, Saint Anthony was given various trials and had to overcome them all. This work tells the story of Saint Anthony’s thoughts on his inner struggles.