It is more likely that
Jeroen Bosch made an allusion here in the form of a mock
penitence which must have raised a smile among his
circle of friends who understood him.
There can be little doubt that Bosch identified with St.
Anthony. This is very plainly shown by the fact that the
figures, events and buildings shown on the central panel
of the altarpiece, all belong to Bosch's own time. He
painted several temptations of the saint. The most
beautiful, complete and mature version is to be found in
the so-called Lisbon altarpiece. The inner panels of the
triptych are filled to overflowing with demons.
On the left a bowed figure is creeping away, hands
folded in prayer, and carrying a money bag over its
back: it is Judas. This small detail points to a
specific conception of the painter, deviating from the
idea, which is commonly held, that in Judas we see only
an ordinary betrayer. Judas expected that Jesus would
prove Himself to be the Messiah who had been announced
to the Jewish People, and who should re-establish its
dominance and found a new terrestrial kingdom. He felt
that he must accelerate events, and betrayed the Saviour
in order that he might the sooner become a witness to
His triumph. He was unable to imagine a suffering God,
only a triumphant one. Now he prays that the heavenly
hosts should come to the rescue.
One notices throughout how he uses the figure of the
Saint as a pretext, to show his own convictions and the
situation in his own time. He kept to the Golden Legend
however, which was well known to everyone, and used this
as a disguise for his own world philosophy.
-- The Pictorial
Language of Hieronymus Bosch, by Clement A. Wertheim