Description Saint Jerome (ca. 340-420 CE), most famous for translating the Bible into Latin, is here shown as a hermit in the wilderness. He is said to have spent four years in the Syrian desert living in a cave while meditating on Christ’s death and resurrection. He holds a crucifix, a reminder of Christ’s suffering, and gazes at a skull, the universal symbol for mortality. Jerome’s faithful companion, a lion, which he is said to have tamed by removing a thorn from its paw, sits at his feet. The painting is attributed to Pier Antonio Palmerini, who worked in the court city of Urbino in Central Italy. Palmerini was active in the 1520s and 1530s, primarily in his hometown but also in the nearby city of Pesaro. He also traveled to Rome, where he became closely acquainted with the work of Raphael (1483-1520). This forceful depiction of Saint Jerome, with the saint’s leg projected outward to the viewer, may be loosely based on Raphael’s example. The meticulous depiction of the plants and rock formations demonstrates Palmerini’s interest and skill in the representation of nature.
Provenance Cardinal d'Andrea [date and mode of acquisition unknown] [according to the 1881 Massarenti catalogue]; Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome [date and mode of acquisition unknown] [1881 catalogue: no. 132; 1897 catalogue: no. 127, as Timoteo Viti]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902
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