St Jerome (c.1575) by Titian

St Jerome - Titian - c.1575

Artwork Information

TitleSt Jerome
Dimensions184 x 177 cm
Art MovementMannerism (Late Renaissance)

About St Jerome

The artwork “St Jerome” is a significant religious painting by the acclaimed artist Titian, executed circa 1575. Employing oil on canvas as his medium, Titian crafted this piece within the artistic context of Mannerism, a style characterizing the Late Renaissance period. The dimensions of the artwork are substantial, measuring approximately 184 by 177 centimeters.

In this profound depiction, St Jerome is portrayed as a hermit, immersed in a desolate and wild landscape that exudes an air of contemplation and penitence. The central figure of St Jerome is rendered with striking physicality and expressive detail, his physique bearing the marks of age and ascetic dedication. Seated on a rocky outcrop, he is enveloped by darkness, while a radiant light source from beyond the cavernous opening illuminates his form and the surrounding foliage. This dramatic chiaroscuro enhances the spiritual intensity of St Jerome’s engagement with the sacred texts before him.

On the left side of the scene lies a lion, a traditional symbol associated with St Jerome, resting in quiet repose. The inclusion of this companion not only grounds the narrative in Jerome’s hagiographic lore but also underlines the harmony between the wild and the divine. Adding to the contemplative milieu, Titian placed a skull, a crucifix, and an hourglass on a makeshift desk, elements that allude to the transient nature of life and the inevitability of death, thus reinforcing the painting’s religious and philosophical undertones.

The overall composition of this portrayal of St Jerome is a testimony to Titian’s mastery in conveying deep religious piety through art, blending naturalistic portrayal with the more exaggerated, emotive characteristics of Mannerism to create a captivating and thought-provoking piece that speaks to themes of mortality, penance, and salvation.

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