European Art
Artist: Master of the Osservanza Triptych, Italian, active ca. 1430–ca.1450

The Temptation of Saint Anthony Abbot

ca. 1435–40

Tempera on panel

38.4 × 40.4 × 1.2 cm (15 1/8 × 15 7/8 × 1/2 in.)
University Purchase from James Jackson Jarves
One of the most admired narrative series in fifteenth-century Sienese painting comprises eight panels illustrating the legend of Saint Anthony Abbot, generally attributed to an anonymous artist known only as the Master of the Osservanza. Originally part of an altarpiece or large tabernacle, the series includes works now divided among museums in New York, Washington, D.C., and Berlin, in addition to the two panels in the Gallery’s collection. In this panel, Saint Anthony, retiring to a life of abstinence and isolation, is beset with temptations of the flesh. The wings of the seductress at the right indentify her as a dissembling devil.
Made in Siena, Italy
On view
Italian, Siena
15th century

James Jackson Jarves Collection, Florence.Potentially purchased by Jarves in Macerata in the 1850s when the Giambattista Caccialupi collection was being broken up and sold (see Boskovits and Brown 2003, p. 493 note 33).


Susan B. Matheson, Art for Yale: A History of the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2001), 48, 50, fig. 41a.

Clay M. Dean, A Selection of Early Italian Paintings from the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2003), 13, 30–31, no. 8.

Mrs. Francis Steegmuller, The Two Lives of James Jackson Jarves (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1951), 297, fig. 10.

Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1972), 599.

Alan Shestack, ed., Yale University Art Gallery Selections (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1983).

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.