The Temptation of Christ
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Simon Bening
Flemish, Bruges, about 1525 - 1530
Tempera colors, gold paint, gold leaf, and ink on parchment
6 5/8 x 4 1/2 in.

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Thinking to approach Jesus in a weakened state after his fast of forty days and forty nights, the devil tempts him in three different ways, each depicted in this miniature. In the foreground, the devil suggests that Jesus change some rocks into bread so that he can eat after forty days without food. Then, in the right background, the devil sits Christ on the pinnacle of the temple of the holy city, saying that if he is truly the son of God, he can prove it by casting himself down, since he should be protected from the fall by angels. Finally, in the middle ground to the left, the devil takes Christ to a high mountain from which all the kingdoms of the world can be seen and offers him these lands if Christ agrees to adore him. Jesus coolly refuses all of these temptations and commands the devil to leave.