(b. 1541, Candia, d. 1614, Toledo)
Saint Jerome Penitent1610-14
Oil on canvas, 166 x 110 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington
Endowed with an unsurpassed classical education, Jerome (c. 342-420) became an outstanding biblical scholar as well as the translator of the Bible into Latin (the Vulgate). During the Renaissance, paintings showing him either in his study or performing acts of penance in the wilderness adorned the walls of the homes of many humanists and scholars. El Greco painted both types.
This painting is the final expression of El Greco's 'Saint in ecstasy' (compare St Sebastian, St Mary Magdalen and St Ildefonso). The pattern is still that of the St Sebastian of his first years in Spain, and it was employed also for the Christ of the Baptism.