“The Holy Jerome in the Desert,” Jacopo Bassano – overview of the painting

“The Holy Jerome in the Desert,” Jacopo Bassano – overview of the painting
“The Holy Jerome in the Desert,” Jacopo Bassano - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by Jacopo Bassano
  • Museum: Academy Gallery
  • Year: Around 1560

Overview of the painting :

Saint Jerome in the desert – Jacopo Bassano. Around 1560. Oil on canvas. 119×154

   Jacopo da Ponte, nicknamed after the city, in which, with the exception of young years, when he studied in Venice, spent his whole life, was nevertheless popular in Serenissimo. And so much so that it was to him that Veronese sent his son as a student. This dramatic composition, the appearance of which coincided with the era of counter-reformation, also enjoyed success – the spiritual search for new meanings of religious experience, perseverance in opposing temptations, “free knowledge”, personal responsibility.

   In the image of Jerome, the holy character of Christian history, the author of interpretations and polemical works, a translator, it was customary to emphasize his remoteness from the worldly bustle, from the settlements. Jerome lived for four years as a hermit in the Halkid desert near the Syrian city of Antioch. According to legend, he tortured himself before being crucified with blows to his chest during tempting visions. In the desert, he studied Hebrew. In Rome, he was secretary and assistant to Pope Damascus I. It was on behalf of the pontiff that he translated the books of the Old Testament and the Gospel from Hebrew into Latin. In 1546, at the Trident Cathedral, this Bible translation was declared canonical and was called “wulgate.”. The vulgats traditionally portray the saint as an author with a book, sometimes working in their office.

   Jacopo Bassano shows a repentant elder in a cave, with a stone in his hand, in front of a opened book. Another attribute in the iconography of Jerome is the skull. However, here he is not “according to the rules” (under the book, like the skull of the first person) located next to the foreground, illuminated by the same mystical light from the half-dark as the exhausted, but not at all ascetic body of the elder. Crucifixion looks completely wonderful. The God-man nailed to the cross was written as if alive, as if to the audience, as a scientist and righteous Jeronim, from afar, but the event itself appears firsthand.