St. Jerome in Penitence

Accession Number

St. Jerome in Penitence


Object Creation Date
circa 1500

Medium & Support
engraving on paper

8 3/4 x 6 3/4 in. (22.1 x 17.1 cm);19 5/16 x 14 5/16 in. (48.9 x 36.2 cm)

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Label copy

This dramatic print shows a monumental gure of St. Jerome kneeling in the wilderness before a cruci x while beating his chest with a rock. His semi-nude body, its musculature strongly emphasized, dominates the foreground. A lion, which became Jerome’s faithful companion after he removed a thorn from its foot, crouches beside the saint and turns toward him with a gaping mouth, as if roaring. Though Jerome’s penance took place in the desert, a cityscape in the background includes a prominent ecclesiastical structure rising behind the saint; this may be a reference to his status
as one of the Four Doctors of the Church (teachers recognized for their important contributions to the interpretation of scripture and the development of Christian doctrine). Though the plate was engraved by a Florentine artist, perhaps Francesco Rosselli (1448–before 1513) or someone from his circle, the print is likely an eighteenth-century impression intended to be a single sheet rather than part of a series. 

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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4 Related Resources

Lives of Christian Saints
(Part of 6 Learning Collections)
The Divine Comedy
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
Early Modern European Peasants
(Part of 10 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

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