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Octave Tassaert

The Temptation of Saint Hilarion

Artist

Octave Tassaert
Paris 1800 – Paris 1874

Title

The Temptation of Saint Hilarion

Date

About 1857

Materials

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

111.4 x 144.3 cm

Credits

Purchase, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Michal Hornstein, inv. 1991.19

Collection

Western Art

Tassaert found his own style, somewhere between Romanticism and Realism. This “Correggio of the garret,” as Théophile Gautier called him, ended up committing suicide. He loved women and lived in poverty: in this way his art and life were one. His favourite subjects were borrowed from the “frolicsome genre,” as he called it, or else were sentimental, mawkish genre scenes. Tassaert returned more than once to the very Flaubertian subject of the temptation of Saint Anthony and of his disciple Saint Hilarion. This anchorite from Gaza founded Palestine’s first monasteries. The artist brings together iconographic elements he was drawn to, counterbalancing the starving saint with a cloud of delectable female flesh.

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