Saint Anthony Tormented by Demons

Artist: Martin Schongauer (German, Colmar ca. 1435/50–1491 Breisach)

Date: ca. 1470–75

Medium: Engraving

Dimensions: sheet: 11 13/16 x 8 9/16 in. (30 x 21.8 cm)

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1920

Accession Number: 20.5.2


Saint Anthony gazes serenely out at the viewer as frenzied demons grab at his limbs, clothes, and hair and pound him with sticks. Schongauer depicted these imagined creatures in a remarkably convincing way. His realistic description of their scales and fur point to his direct observation of animals, yet he compiled these naturalistic details to produce some of the most fantastic and grotesque fabrications in the history of printmaking. Although this is one of Schongauer's earliest prints, it was probably his most influential: Vasari recounted that even Michelangelo made a color drawing of the work at the age of thirteen.