(b. 1430/35, Venezia, d. 1495, Camerino)
St Jerome and St Augustinec. 1490
Tempera on wood, 208 x 72 cm
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice
Carlo Crivelli was one of the young artists involved in the new developments taking place in Padua around the middle of the 15th century. But in his version of Renaissance naturalism, even more so than in that of Cosmè Tura, we can still see the influence of the Medieval traditions. Forced to leave Venice soon after 1467, Crivelli carried on his solitary activity in the Marches, developing an art rich in figurative detail and luminous in the clarity of form and colour. He was influenced by the wealth of culture which flourished at the court of Ferrara with the presence there of Piero della Francesca and Rogier van der Weyden.
In his later works his sensitive approach to the intellectual search for technical perfection achieved, by means of a purity of line and colour, a refined and moving elegance. Evidence of this can be seen in the work St Jerome and St Augustine. The intensity with which the two saints are portrayed against the gold ground, the linear vitality and the vibrant use of colour are impressive, as is the portrait of the lion with its metallic mane, its head raised in a roar, its claws gripping the marble.
This panel together with another representing St Peter and St Paul belonged to an altarpiece in the cathedral of Camerino, flanking a central Virgin and Child Enthroned (now in the Brera, Milan). The cathedral was destroyed in an earthquake in 1799.