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Saint Jerome in Penitence with Saints and Donors
Francesco Botticini
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This is the main panel of the S. Gerolamo Altarpiece, one of the most important works of the Florentine painter Francesco Botticini. It is named after Saint Jerome (Gerolamo or Girolamo in Italian), the figure prominently depicted at its centre, and the church dedicated to him where it originally stood.

Saint Jerome was a celebrated fourth-century theologian. He is shown here clutching the stone that, according to his legend, he pounded against his chest to help him resist temptation. During the fifteenth century, a cult dedicated to the saint found many followers, leading to the establishment of numerous religious houses across the Italian Peninsula. The church of S. Gerolamo in Fiesole, a small town in the hills above Florence, was the regional centre of the Hieronymites.

The patron of the altarpiece, the Florentine patrician Girolamo di Piero di Cardinale Rucellai, kneels to the left of the framed image of Saint Jerome, opposite his son.

Key facts
Artist Francesco Botticini
Artist dates about 1446 - 1497
Full title Saint Jerome in Penitence with Saints and Donors
Group S. Gerolamo Altarpiece
Date made about 1490
Medium and support Tempera on poplar?
Dimensions 235 x 258 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1855
Inventory number NG227.1
Location in Gallery Not on display
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S. Gerolamo Altarpiece

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The S. Gerolamo Altarpiece, named after the saint prominently depicted at its centre and the church where it originally stood, is among the most important works of the Florentine painter Francesco Botticini. The artist was an exact contemporary of Sandro Botticelli, with whom he may have trained in the workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio.

The fourth-century theologian Saint Jerome (Gerolamo or Girolamo in Italian) is best known for his translation of the Bible from the original Hebrew and Greek into Latin. During the fifteenth century a cult dedicated to the saint found many followers (called Hieronymites), leading to the establishment of numerous religious houses across the Italian peninsula. This altarpiece comes from their church in Fiesole, a small town in the hills above Florence. Its patron, the Florentine patrician Girolamo di Piero di Cardinale Rucellai, can be seen kneeling to the left of the framed image of Saint Jerome, opposite his son.

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