Albrecht Dürer’s St. Jerome in the Wilderness is a double-sided oil on panel painting which is currently housed in the National Gallery in London. Created in 1496, this artwork depicts St. Jerome living as a hermit in the wilderness, surrounded by northern European flora and fauna. The painting was intended for private devotion and was popular during the Renaissance period.
St. Jerome holds a book in his left hand and a rock on his right hand while looking pensively into the distance, displaying his scholarly attributes as well as his ascetic lifestyle. Dürer created multiple artworks featuring St. Jerome throughout his career, depicting him both as a scholar translating the Bible and also as a penitent living in isolation.
Interestingly, Dürer’s drypoint of St. Jerome is considered a rarity among collectors because it portrays him with crossed eyes, suggesting that the artist was willing to depict realism over perfect beauty when creating religious works.
St. Jerome is remembered as an important figure for Christianity – he translated most of the Bible into Latin and influenced church doctrine at that time. He is recognized today as the patron saint of translators, librarians, and encyclopedists alike due to his considerable contributions to early Christian scholarship