Saint Anthony

Symbols and attributes

Scenes from the life - detail

Bosch - Detail from The Temptation of St Anthony.
Prado, Madrid

Bosch's St Anthony wears a Tau symbol on his habit. This is repeated in the stick the saint traditionally carries. 
Tau can be interpreted in  number of ways. It can represent the cross, or God (Theos.) This became a symbol of protection against evil and temptation, one that is carried to this day by Franciscans. 
  St Anthony wears the habit of a monk.  In the detail from Scenes from the life Anthony wears the black habit of the Antonine order, but in the detail from the Bosch painting (Prado) the habit is more like that of the Franciscans. I wonder if this was painted for a Franciscan church? 

   St Anthony is often accompanied by a friendly pig, as in the Bosch detail above. This is dealt with here.

  Note: there is an interesting article on Tau here:

St Anthony Index

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