St. Jerome Reading in an Italian LandscapeArtist(s)Rembrandt van RijnObject Creation Date1653Medium & Supportetching, drypoint and burin with gray wash on paperDimensions
8 9/16 x 6 3/4 in. (21.7 x 17 cm);10 7/16 x 8 9/16 in. (26.4 x 21.7 cm);22 1/16 x 18 1/8 in. (56 x 46 cm)Credit LineGift of Alice Berle CrawfordLabel copy
Gallery Rotation Winter 2014
Saint Jerome is depicted comfortably reading in a sun-drenched landscape, sitting casually with his sandals off. The saint's relaxation pervades all aspects of the landscape. His trusty lion guards his peace and quiet on this high rocky promontory, while travelers safely cross the bridge below. A sleepy village is seen in the background. In his old age the saint retired to Bethlehem, where he worked on his translation of the Bible, refuting the heretics and directing the convents and monasteries that his friend the noblewoman Saint Paula had founded. It may be to these activities that the book and buildings refer.
In contrast to the more heavily worked lean-to hut against the tree behind him and the buildings in the background, the saint is but summarily rendered. This lightly drawn effect serves to unite him more thoroughly with this sunlit landscape. The artist daringly allowed plate surface scratches to remain, ingeniously exploiting their capacity to suggest light, air, and texture.
For his composition Rembrandt looked to the landscape conventions of Venetian artists in the circle of Titian, particularly Domenico Campagnola, a drawing of whose Rembrandt owned and actually altered. The prominant landscape in the foreground and the distant, village-crowned hill reveal such inspiration.
Relatively clean-wiped, this impression lacks the rich burr and plate tone exhibited by some examples. Touches of bluish-gray wash on the lion's mane and forelegs and on the tree trunk may have been added by a later hand in imitation of plate tone.
Exhibition label text by Dr. Annette Dixon for "Bold Strokes: The Inventiveness of Rembrandt's Late Prints," February 24 - April 28, 1996.Primary Object ClassificationPrintCollection AreaWesternRights
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