About this artwork

This devotional image shows the penitent Saint Jerome meditating on a crucifix while beating his chest with a stone. The cave-like setting recalls Saint 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.

Updated before 2020

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El Greco

El Greco