(b. ca. 1450, 's-Hertogenbosch, d. 1516, 's-Hertogenbosch)
St Jerome in Prayerc. 1505
Oil on panel, 80,1 x 60,6 cm
Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent
The painting illustrates the contrast between good and evil and between the spirit and the flesh - the principle on which medieval morality was founded. Bosch's painting contrasts Jerome's tribulations in the foreground with a serene landscape that flows away into the background and which is handled with great naturalism. The saint has prostrated himself before a crucifix and finds himself in a strange and poetic setting, full of symbols and attributes. The rocks and tree-trunks are threatening and seem to have come to life, yet, even here, the overall impression is of great realism and lively detail.