About this artwork

This devotional image shows the penitent St Jerome meditating on a crucifix while beating his chest with a stone. The cave-like setting recalls St Jerome's years as a hermit in the desert. The books and pen symbolise his scholarly activity, including his translation of the Bible into Latin, while the skull and hour-glass represent the transience of life. Although the office of cardinal did not exist in Jerome's lifetime he is often depicted with a cardinal's hat, as here, referring to his service to the Pope and his posthumous status as a doctor of the church.

El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos)

El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos)