Saint Jerome (about 342 - 420) translated the Bible into Latin. He spent several years as a penitent in the Syrian desert, and is depicted here in the wilderness, accompanied by the tame lion which his legend associates with him, receiving divine inspiration in the form of an angel.
This work is one of the two earliest documented paintings by Domenichino. It was recorded in 1603 in Cardinal Aldobrandini's collection in Rome, and must have been painted shortly after the artist's arrival in the city in 1602.
X-radiographs reveal a standing figure behind the saint.