TIZIANO Vecellio
(b. 1490, Pieve di Cadore, d. 1576, Venezia)

St Jerome

c. 1560
Oil on canvas, 235 x 125 cm
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

The rounded part of the panel is a later addition (perhaps by the artist), as shown by copies such as in the Accademia di San Luca, Rome. Ridolfi mentions the painting as being in the church of S. Maria Nuova, Venice, from which it was taken in 1808 to the Brera.

A clearing in the woods is immersed in the reflections of a fiery sunset, and the stones and the skin of the old ascetic share the same old-gold fluorescence. This chromatic blaze is the real subject of the painting. In composition, the Mannerist framework of crossed diagonals is not an end in itself but accentuates the vitality of wild nature, and suggests that the wind is blowing. Having broken the old relationship between tonal painting and the twilight effects of Giorgione, Titian devoted himself to the monumental style without, however, any rhetorical preconceptions. Following the single principle of rendering the strongest visual emotion, he achieved the highest lyrical freedom. The success and popularity of this painting is shown by the existence of numerous replicas, copies and derivations, including one by Rubens in Haarlem and another by Brusasorzi in Rovereto.