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James EnsorThe Temptation


Pier Vittorio Aureli’s selection for his storefront.

This may be so cliché in Belgium, but I love Ensor so much, for me he is one the greatest painter of all times. This book shows one of the most interesting aspects of Ensor’s work, his desperate attempt to recover religious subjects in an age that rejected God. The result was sublime and grotesque, deeply spiritual and sarcastic, hopeful and desperate. This book shows very well Ensor’s tormented, critical but extremely ambitious engagement with religion.

“This engaging volume describes the creation and restoration of the extraordinary large-scale drawing The Temptation of Saint Anthony-a work by late 19th-century Belgian artist James Ensor (1860-1949)-on the occasion of its first public showing in more than 60 years. The piece is composed of 51 separate sheets of paper collaged into a hallucinatory social critique and artist’s manifesto. Each sheet of the nearly six-foot-high work is reproduced at actual size, revealing Ensor’s remarkable technique and fertile imagination. Here, Saint Anthony is surrounded not with nature, as customary, but with the moral decay of society. Replete with tiny scenes depicting both sexual temptation and spiritual piety, Ensor splices potent imagery from travelogues, popular science, and technology magazines into a Symbolist masterpiece.”

  • Yale
  • Language English
  • Release2015
  • Pages144
  • Format28.7 x 25.7 cm
  • ISBN9780300203912

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