FONTEBASSO, Francesco
(b. 1707, Venezia, d. 1769, Venezia)

The Virgin Mary Appears to St Jerome

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Oil on canvas, 30 x 22 cm
Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest

The theme of the Holy Virgin accompanied by angels appearing to the penitent St Jerome in the desert was interpreted by Fontebasso several times. The versions of Paris (Louvre), Vienna (Bossi Collection), Padua (Museo Civico) and London, as well as the two drawings in Bologna are similar to the Budapest picture, but for a different arrangement. The saint is seated in the foreground, leaning against his book, or praying and resting while his attention is held by the lion and his eyes are peering into the distance. In the Budapest picture he finally finds peace in death, lying on the matting with a cross on his breast. All these similar small representations, some with a semicircular top, are thought to have belonged to a series of devotional pictures.