Giovanni Bellini (about 1430 – 1516)

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)


This painting was previously on loan to the exhibition:

‘Giovanni Bellini: Landscapes of Faith in Renaissance Venice’ at the Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 10 October 2017 – 14 January 2018