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Saint Jerome - Caravaggio. 116x153
In this painting, written by Caravaggio specifically for Shipione Borghese, the artist depicted St. Jerome for his scholarly works.
The light pouring through an invisible window snatches from the twilight the red robe of the saint, his head with the steep, convex forehead of the thinker, books, a skull lying on the table. “Caravaggio ... became more and more famous every day,” wrote the biographer Giovanni Pietro Bellory, mainly due to the color, not as soft and light as before, but as saturated, with strong shadows, and he often used a lot black to give shape to relief. And before that, he was fascinated by this manner that he did not let out any of his figures in the sun, but placed them in a closed room ... using a ray of light falling vertically on the main parts of the figure, leaving everything else in the shade so that the chiaroscuro would give sharp Effect. The then Roman painters were delighted with this innovation, especially the young ... "
Saint Jerome, one of the fathers of the church, a translator of the Bible into Latin, is immersed in reading the divine Book, on his forehead there is a seal of extreme concentration, a pen in his hand. At the same time, the image created by the artist reminds of the life of the hero of the picture in the desert, where he prayed and repented of sins, as evidenced by his robes of the hermit. Skull, one of Jerome’s attributes, illustrates the Latin dictum “memento mori” - “remember death”, but also symbolizes the victory of the human spirit over mortal flesh. Between this symbol and the saint is the expanded Bible as a path that must be passed from the life of a mere mortal to the heights of the spirit. The horizontally elongated composition, so beloved by the artist, indicates this long distance, but a hand with a pen shortens it.