Antoine: Quel est le but de tout cela? Le Diable: Il n'y a pas de but!
(Anthony: What is the point of all this? The Devil: There is no point!)
Plate 18 of 24
This caption is from a particularly relevant passage in Flaubert's text: hallucinating, Saint Anthony rises further and further above the solar system, illuminated by its 'innumerable lights' and 'luminous vapours.' Beside him the devil, with his giant black wings outstretched, challenges Anthony's concept of God.
Redon's Saint Anthony appears particularly transfixed by what he observes. This sense of sadness and isolation commonly evoked in Redon's early noirs is often linked to his own experience as an infirm child growing up in solitude in rural Médoc.