Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Temptation Is A Hollow Fish-Hat Circus

Dear readers, this week we return to the realm of 16th century "Painters Who Got Their Drugs From Hieronymus Bosch's Dealer."  I assume this is what you come here for, because the top search engine results that have brought people to this site are apparently "hell" and "naked bottoms."  That is not even a joke.   Thank you, Google.

Anyway, I present to you this painting by Dutch artist Jan Mandijn, "The Temptation of Saint Anthony."  At least, that is the title as far as I can tell; there is remarkably little information immediately available about it.  The best-quality copy I could find is from this actual art blog.

This is another doozy, so I will pick a few details and let you just soak in the rest.  We'll start with the small stuff, like...

This is a gnome with a giant beer belly that he carries around in a wheelbarrow.  Currently said belly is being closely inspected by a man in a pink dress, but the gnome is far too distracted by the bird blocking access to his Venti Caramel Macchiato.  He also carries what looks like a frog on a stick, perhaps as a snack for later.

This little detail is over by the burning village.  A person is dangling from a tree branch, hiding his or her head in a sack while farting dead leaves.  At least it is a sign he's been getting plenty of roughage in his diet.

A man half-emerges from an egg to lap up raw fish with his tongue.  I guess he wanted his sashimi as fresh and fast as possible.  Meanwhile, a fish with arms and boobies goes on the rampage with a scimitar--oddly, not against the fish-murderer next to her.

I guess fish were a big theme in temptation for Mandijn.  This amazing fish-hat comes festooned with an entire tree--no minor floral accents for this stylish accessory.  It even comes with its own intra-fish circus, with a tent and someone doing a headstand.  This is clearly the height of tempt-o-fashion.  The alien swamp creature looking in seems jealous, anyway.

Finally, the pièce de résistance: the Head Hut.  With its convenient dock for your private gondola, this skull house makes for an ideal dwelling for the man with a watery commute.  The mouth-kitchen provides plenty of ventilation for a wood-burning stove, allowing for gourmet cooked meals and smoked meats year-round.  Instead of the window to the soul, here the eye is just a window, and the designer's quirky reinterpretation of pince-nez glasses is sure to be the envy of the neighbors.  The eye-socket lamp makes for a friendly invitation, suggesting visitors should come in for a nice drink and a cyanide pill.

Through all this, Saint Anthony remains untempted.  In fact, he looks downright bored, completely oblivious to the arson, decapitated architecture, and rampaging fish-creatures lurking just over his shoulder.  If this is what temptation looked like in the 16th century, I pale to think what made them horrified.


  1. Farting dead leaves. At least it is a sign he's been getting plenty of roughage in his diet. Bloody hell. This picture is fab.

  2. Thanks! Part of me wants to know what these guys were smoking when they painted, but part of me is terrified.

  3. OMG - I thought we were the only ones who lived in a head hut! I'm so relieved!

    1. It is both trendy and roomy, as long as you don't mind tonsil curtains leading to the kitchen and some of your ventilation coming through a nostril.