The Virgin and Child with Saints Jerome and Dominic

This altarpiece was painted for the burial chapel of the Rucellai family in the new church of S. Pancrazio, Florence, belonging to the Vallombrosans, an order of reformed Benedictine monks.

Saint Jerome is represented in the background, deep inside his cave, as well as in the foreground. The entrance of the cave is protected from a wild bear by the saint's lion. The figure on the hill with an ass may be Joseph. There is a hospital in the distance on the right, perhaps associated with the charities of Saint Dominic. A bird carries a worm to its young in the nearest tree.

The predella is original. The lamenting Saint Francis and Saint Mary Magdalene flank the dead body of Christ, which is supported by Joseph of Arimathaea.

The body of Christ is placed in the centre of the predella, just above the place on the altar where the bread and wine of the Mass were placed.

Key facts

Artist dates
about 1457 - 1504
Full title
The Virgin and Child with Saints Jerome and Dominic
Date made
about 1485
Medium and support
Oil and tempera on poplar
203.2 x 186.1 cm, 239 kg
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1857
Inventory number
Location in Gallery