St. Jerome (1521) by Albrecht Durer

St. Jerome - Albrecht Durer - 1521

Artwork Information

TitleSt. Jerome
ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance

About St. Jerome

“St. Jerome” is an oil painting on panel created by Albrecht Dürer in 1521. It belongs to the Northern Renaissance movement, and it is categorized as a religious painting. The vivid artwork features meticulous details that are characteristic of Dürer’s style and the Northern Renaissance’s fascination with realism.

The painting depicts St. Jerome, a Christian scholar and priest who is best known for his translation of the Bible into Latin (the Vulgate). In the artwork, St. Jerome appears to be in an intimate, contemplative setting. He is portrayed as an aged, bearded figure with a balding head, wearing a vibrant red garment with a black hat. His most striking feature is perhaps the long, wavy gray beard that flows down his chest, symbolizing wisdom and age.

St. Jerome is shown deeply immersed in thought, with his right index finger placed to his temple, conveying a sense of intellectual effort or contemplation. In the background, a small crucifix adorns the wall, a testament to his devout faith and commitment to Christian theology. Meanwhile, his left hand rests atop a human skull on the table, which is a common symbol of mortality and the transient nature of life, often associated with the memento mori theme. It prompts viewers to reflect on the inevitability of death and the importance of spiritual life.

In front of St. Jerome, there is an open book, likely signifying his scholarly work or possibly the Bible, pointing to his role in translating and interpreting the sacred text. A couple of other books are stacked beneath the open one, suggesting his prolific study and scholarly pursuits. To the side, an inkwell sits ready, indicating that St. Jerome might engage in writing or has been busy doing so.

Albrecht Dürer’s “St. Jerome” is a compelling display of religious conviction and the human endeavor for knowledge, set within the context of the profound reality of mortality.

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