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Vincenzo Catena, 'Saint Jerome in his Study', probably about 1510

Key facts
Full title Saint Jerome in his Study
Artist Vincenzo Catena
Artist dates active 1506 - 1531
Date made probably about 1510
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 75.9 × 98.4 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1862
Inventory number NG694
Location Gallery C
Collection Main Collection
Saint Jerome in his Study
Vincenzo Catena

Saint Jerome, who translated the Bible into Latin from Greek and Hebrew, is reading in his study, surrounded by books, an inkwell, an unlit candle and Crucifix. A lion, his traditional companion, lies on the ground near his creased slippers. The partridge may be associated with both truth and deceit. Jerome’s pink robe, blue hood and hat are unusual; he is normally shown wearing the red robes of a cardinal.

The elaborate brass lectern is ornamented with a lion’s paw and has a long pointed spike to which a candle could be attached for reading after dark. In the open cupboards are a wicker flagon, a jar, and more of Saint Jerome’s books. All the objects in the room are meticulously painted. The Venetian artist Catena may have trained with Giovanni Bellini, and it is easy to see the influence of Bellini’s clear, crisp style in this picture.

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