CRANACH, Lucas the Elder
(b. 1472, Kronach, d. 1553, Weimar)

The Penance of St Jerome

Oil and tempera on limewood, 56 x 42 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

St Jerome is generally shown in paintings as a penitent in the desert, which for want of knowledge of its true nature is represented as a kind of richly wooded wasteland. In this version of the subject Cranach portrays the saint's torso in a remarkably correct anatomical manner, even by comparison with his later versions.