"Madonna and Child with Saint Anthony the Abbot and Saint Paul the Hermit" by Paulo Veronese
Today is the Feast of Saint Anthony of the Desert, aka Saint Antony, Saint Anthony the Abbot, aka Saint Anthony the Great (in Eastern rite circles).
He is commonly called the Father of Monasticism. He may not have been the first monk, but he was probably one of the first well known due to Saint Athanasius of Alexandria writing about him. And this through this writing the example of Saint Anthony's life has had a great influence on the Church in both the East and the West. Most notably on Saint Basil the Great, the greatest influence on monasticsm in the East, and Saint Benedict, considered the father of monasticsm in the West.
In art Saint Anthony is often represented with Saint Paul the Hermit based on a meeting between the two.
You can read his life here:
Life of Saint Anthony by Saint Athanasius (at New Advent)
There is also a site that has pictures of the monastery which was built where Saint Anthony lived in Egypt. It is one of the oldest monasteries in the world and is kept by Coptic Orthodox monks. This site appears to be made by someone who has visited the monastery, not a monk of it, so I can't vouch for the accuracy. However the pictures are interseting. I would love to see Saint Anthony's cave.
Steps that lead to Saint Anthony's cave 1050ft up the mountain.
Saint Anthony's cave.
(There are a couple of popup ads on every page that can get through a popup blocker. I cannot vouch for the ads.)
Monastery of Saint Anthony the Great