From the museum website
The legend of the tempted, harassed and tormented hermit Anthony has provided artists since the Middle Ages with a rich source of material for fantastic visual worlds: ugly demons meet lascivious beauties, curious composite creatures populate bizarre landscapes, and the boundaries between appearance and reality, dreams and nightmares disappear. The legend passed on by Athanasius of Anthony, a man tempted by wealth and beauty and persecuted by demons, has been depicted by artists ranging from Lucas Cranach to Henri Fantin-Latour, from Hieronymus Bosch to Max Ernst in a surprisingly current manner. St. Anthony’s fears occupy us today in the same manner in which they stimulated renowned artists of the past 500 years to create a type of Surrealism before its time.
This exhibition provides the first representative historic overview of artists’ identification with this subject. It gathers together 70 paintings, drawings, etchings and illustrated books from the beginning of the 14th to the middle of the 20th centuries, from early codices through the visual worlds of Hieronymus Bosch to satires by David Teniers and Felicien Rops, and includes works by Paolo Veronese, Jan Bruegel the Younger, Salvator Rosa, Lovis Corinth and James Ensor.
With Terror and desire: the Temptation of St. Anthony, the Bucerius Kunst Forum launches a new exhibition series. A loose succession of thematic exhibitions in the coming years shall put the visual power of past masters to the test.