2023 Author: Leah Sherlock | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:26
The painting "Saint Jerome" is one of the most expressive works of the great master of the Renaissance. Today it is kept in the Vatican Pinakothek and, despite its incompleteness, attracts more and more attention of fans of Leonardo da Vinci.
Saint Jerome in the Desert
Jerome is equally revered in both Orthodox and Catholic traditions as one of the teachers of the church. The plot of the picture is one of two iconographic images of St. Jerome. Usually, in the artistic tradition, he was depicted either as a cardinal in a red robe, with attributes of learning and high rank, or as a penitent, dressed in simple clothes, in the middle of the desert, beating himself with a stone in the chest.
Leonardo da Vinci turned to the second image, depicting a penitent old man half-naked, in old clothes, in the middle of a desert landscape. The saint holds a stone in his hand, he is ready to strike himself. At his feet lies a lion, the raised head of the beast and the mouth open in a roar are turned towards the old man.
It is no coincidence that the artist placed the king of beasts at the feet of the saint. According to legend, the monk Jeromepulled a splinter out of the lame lion's paw. Since then, the grateful beast has become his faithful companion and helper and is often depicted on canvases next to the saint.
Florentine period of Leonardo da Vinci. "Saint Jerome": the creation of a painting
A large work on a religious subject was commissioned by da Vinci from the church leadership of his native Florence in 1480. The young artist was then still working in the studio of his teacher Andrea Verrocchio, a well-known master of the early Renaissance.
However, a large-scale work on a board more than a meter high was not destined to become a completed painting. In 1482, due to political intrigues, Leonardo da Vinci left for Milan. "Saint Jerome" remains in Florence, and the master never returns to work on it.
Current state of the painting
Today, the work in terms of painting has been preserved as it was left by Leonardo da Vinci. Saint Jerome against the background of rocks, a lion at his feet, the landscape in the background are drawn on a light underpainting. The rocks and the desert surrounding them are outlined in dark. The expressive figure of the saint is carefully worked out and prepared for the pictorial layer, while the rest of the details are only outlined in general outlines. Even in this version, the work amazes with the expression and tragedy of the created image.
Fortunately, Leonardo's "Saint Jerome" was not subjected to later attempts by artists to complete the masterpiece. However, the picture has survived to this day in poor condition. Once sawn into two parts, it existed aslids for the casket, and then countertops for almost three centuries. And only in the 19th century it was restored again and took its place among other masterpieces in the Vatican collection.
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