Odilon Redon's Temptation of Saint Anthony
Tentation de Saint-Antoine, 1888
This suite of 10 lithographs by French printmaker and painter Odilon Redon (1840–1916) was inspired by scenes from Gustave Flaubert's La tentation de Saint-Antoine (1874). Equal parts play and novel, Flaubert's text dramatically re-creates a night in which the hermit Anthony, alone in the desert, experiences a variety of temptations orchestrated by the Devil.
Forming one of Redon's most famous series, these prints demonstrate the artist's mastery of lithography and his ability to imitate the textures, tones, and rich blacks of his charcoal drawings, called noirs. Like other symbolist works from the period, Redon's Tentation de Saint-Antoine evokes dreams and the hidden passages of the imagination.