DÜRER, Albrecht
(b. 1471, Nürnberg, d. 1528, Nürnberg)

St Jerome Penitent in the Wilderness

c. 1496
Engraving, 324 x 228 mm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The stone in the saint's right hand serves to strike his chest. In this engraving too Italian influence is manifest. The scenery in the background, however, is based on sketches of quarries in the vicinity of Nuremberg). There is a certain lack of cohesion between the various parts of this unusually large plate.

St Jerome, one of the most learned Fathers of the Church and author of the Vulgate, was born in 331 or 342 in Dalmatia of a well-to-do family. He died in 420. He was one of the favourite saints of Dürer's time, but, curiously, Martin Luther was less than fond of him. "I know of no one among the teachers whom I bear as much enmity as St Jerome, for he speaks only of fasting, virginity, etc."