Saint Jerome in the Wilderness
Venice, about 1460
Tempera on wood
44 x 22.9 cm
Saint Jerome (died 419) was a scholar who translated the Bible into Latin.
He also retired to the wilderness and lived the secluded of a hermit. According to legend, he removed a thorn from the paw of a lion who then became his companion. Here, Jerome exchanges the scholar’s study for a cave. Beyond is a sunlit landscape full of closely-observed natural details representing the comfortable life he has forsaken and the future he will gain.
Giovanni Bellini played a crucial role in the development of Venetian painting, introducing a glowing use of colour and a new feeling for landscape.
Purchased 1949 (No.49.1)