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Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano, Saint Jerome in a Landscape

Key facts
Full title Saint Jerome in a Landscape
Artist Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano
Artist dates about 1459/60 - about 1517/18
Date made about 1500-10
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 32.1 × 25.4 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1882
Inventory number NG1120
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Saint Jerome in a Landscape
Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano

An old man with a long white beard kneels in a rocky landscape. He gazes up at a rough wooden cross made from two slender branches roped together. This is Jerome, a fourth-century saint. It’s one of a number of versions of the subject made by Cima da Conegliano.

The painting is arranged to focus our attention on the white of the stone that Jerome holds, almost in the centre. When tempted by sinful thoughts, symbolised by the snake wriggling on the ground, the saint would beat his breast.

The shapes of the landscape are closely related to Saint Jerome’s own shape and movements. The composition is structured around a series of diagonal parallel lines running from top left to bottom ​right. A zigzagging road draws our eye into the valley, connecting the foreground with the landscape.

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