(documented 1443-1476)

St Jerome

Tempera and gold on panel, 154 x 43 cm
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

This panel is from the upper register of a reconstructed polyptych. The companion panels in the upper register show Sts Sebastian and Peter, the Crucifixion and St Lawrence. The main panels with which the upper register has been framed since 1925 represent the Madonna and Child with angels, flanked by, on the left, Sts Augustine and Catherine of Alexandria and, on the right, Sts Appolonia and Nicholas of Tolentino.

St Jerome is the most moving of the figural panels in the upper register. He is shown with his symbol, the lion, placing its paws on the saint while licking him as would a dog. Jerome is scrutinizing the text of the Vulgate, which he holds in front of him. Staring at the text through gilded pince-nez, his brows knitted in concentration, he reads aloud, his mouth half open, revealing white teeth.

The panels forming the upper register come from the Benedictine abbey in Gualdo Tadino, which must have been the original location of the altarpiece to which they belonged.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.