(b. 1472, Venezia, d. 1526, Capodistria)
Vision of St Augustin1502
Tempera on canvas, 141 x 210 cm
Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, Venice
Episode No. 1 of the series of seven paintings "Episodes from the Life of Sts Jerome, George and Triphun".
The masterpiece in the series is certainly the Vision of St Augustine. The Saint is caught in the instant in which the voice of St Jerome distracts his attention from a letter he was writing to him, to advise him of his imminent death and ascent to heaven. The setting of this miraculous announcement is an idealistic version of the study of a Humanist of the period, a cultured man of letters well-versed also in astronomy, sculpture and music. This is clear from the rational organization of the space, the sophisticated furnishings and the variety of the numerous objects displayed on the desk, the bench, the wide platforms below, the shelves along the walls, the ledge and the cupboard behind the altar in the niche in the room to the left.
Bathed in the strong light that streams in from the windows, every single detail acquires shapes and forms of unparalleled purity: the bindings of the books, the miniatures on the prayerbooks and the pages of the musical text; the shining gilt studs that hold down the green fabric on the desktop and the red upholstery on the elegant chair; the little Renaissance sculptures and the gilt bronze statue of the Saviour on the altar; the astrolabs and the large armillary sphere; the little Maltese dog listening to the mysterious voice, intercepting the bright ray of light and projecting a perfectly sharp and clear shadow.