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Saint Jerome and the angel (St. Jerome hears the sound of the heavenly trumpet)

Painting, 1626, 185×133 cm

Description of the artwork «Saint Jerome and the angel (St. Jerome hears the sound of the heavenly trumpet)»

Jose Ribera wrote many of the saints: St. Bartholomew and St. Sebastian, St. Inessa and St. Mary of Egypt apostles Paul, Peter and Andrew etc. But St. Jerome he wrote most (1, 2, 3, 4). It's hard to say what the learned scribe so attracted the artist, however, his numerous images of the brush Ribera can be found in the Neapolitan galleries and monasteries in the Russian Hermitage Museum and Spanish Prado.

The Hermitage version is one of the earliest. She's a little naive on the pitch, but Ribera it has accurately recognized the darkened color and the ochre shades of karnali, characteristic for the artist of the diagonal composition and the rendition of the decrepit and emaciated human body.
Here are a few things you need to know about the picture and what it depicts.

Why mandatory attributes Jerome – quill and scroll?

Pen and paper (or parchment) is required in the iconography of Saint Jerome. We can see other paintings by Ribera. This is due to the occupation of the Saint. Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus of Stridon (IV-V centuries) was an ascetic and respected Christian writer. Translated into Latin many books of the old and New Testaments. Exactly he is credited with the editing of the canonical Latin text of the Holy Scriptures (the Vulgate). By the way, for this reason St. Jerome is considered the patron Saint of linguists and translators.

What do a lion face to the left of Jerome and a human skull right?

The skull symbolizes the brevity of earthly existence. For Jerome it is not specific: with a skull depicted many Catholic monks and saints (at the same Ribera's and St. Francis - 1, 2and Mary Of Egypt). But the lion's face – it is not an abstract allegory, and allusion to the circumstances of the life of Jerome. According to legend, the Holy all the time accompanied by a lion. One day a wounded animal stray to the monastery. The brethren fled in terror. Not scared just Jerome: he pulled out of the paw of the lion thorn, and watered the beast, after which the lion became his loyal companion.

What is so smitten with Jerome, and what is actually happening in the picture?

Saint is depicted at the moment when his ear touched the sound of the heavenly trumpet announcing the last judgment. A reminder of inevitable death shocked Jerome. His decrepit body, stretched on the diagonal of the canvas, stretched, and eyes and mouth wide open. All these tools convey emotion, of course, somewhat naive and too straightforward (cf. also wide-open mouth "Repentance of St. Peter"), but it just means that the artist at the time was still unavailable more subtle ways of conveying emotional state. More recent images of Jerome will become more psychological truthfulness.

As the caption to the picture clarifies the details of the biography of the artist?

The Hermitage painting "St. Jerome" has the signature: "Jose Ribera, Valencia and academician Roman. Performed in 1626". As you can see, marked in Rome and Valencia. But it is known that a large part of life Ribera passed to Naples: after 25 years he lived there almost uninterruptedly, all the surviving paintings by the artist created in this Italian city, the way, and switched to time under the auspices of the Spanish crown.

Signed, without a doubt, talking and has a polemical meaning. The first part indicates that living in Naples, Ribera did not get tired to stress that the nature and mentality he was a Spaniard, born in Valencia. You can even see the opposition of the Spanish artistic principles – Italian, relevant to the work of Ribera (more on this can be read in the biography of the artist).

But the second part of the signature – "academician Roman" – it seems to be a little bragging: a member of the "Academy of St. Luke" Ribera was just in 1626, the same year when the painting is. And he was elected to the Academy, even despite what he thought of Italian academic art too corny and pretentious, and did not hesitate to talk about it.

Author: Anna Yesterday
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Religious scene

Style of art: Baroque

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1626

Size: 185×133 cm

Artwork in selections: 11 selections