(b. ca. 1440, Seligenstadt, d. 1494, Bruges)

St Jerome and the Lion

Oil on oak panel, 37 x 24,5 cm
Private collection

This small panel was only discovered relatively recently (1945) and so does not feature in most of the Memling literature. Nevertheless, it is an interesting little work which corresponds fully with Memling's style and spatial approach. The composition derives from Rogier van der Weyden. It portrays the episode in which Jerome removes the thorn from the lion's paw. The architectural setting is a characteristic Memling invention. The scene is viewed through a heavy round arch in brown stone, positioned at an angle close to the picture plane. It is related to the more modest little arches in the wings containing the Allegory of True Love. The fairly heavily dotted little trees in the background also recall that work.

The odd way the image is cropped to the left and right is not the result of its having been narrowed at some stage, but is in fact deliberate. The angled position of the arch might indicate that this was once a left wing. The panel has been cut off at the top and bottom. Considering the size of the figure and the wooded landscape, it could be a side panel for the St Jerome in Basel.

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