Date and monogram in plate on tablet, lower right: 1514 / AD
Renowned for his Latin translation of the Hebrew scriptures, the fourth-century Saint Jerome is often shown as a contemplative scholar in his study, accompanied by the lion from whose paw he is said to have removed a thorn. In this masterful engraving, Dürer rendered the sunlit contemporary setting—possibly inspired by the study or library of one of his humanist friends—with subtle linear perspective and highly textured detail. Dispersed throughout the cozy interior is material evidence of Jerome’s paramount spiritual concerns—human mortality and hope of salvation, as symbolized by the skull and the hourglass, and the small crucifix on his desk. There are also everyday objects—including a pair of scissors, scattered pillows, and comfortable slippers—all of which would have been as familiar to Dürer’s audience as would the image of a faithful dog, here shown dozing companionably beside the lion.
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