30 September is the Feast of St. Jerome, one of the Four Doctors of the Western Church. Jerome supposedly died at Bethlehem on 30 September 420 CE. A very popular saint in Italian art, Jerome is sometimes shown as as a cardinal in his study, in reference to his work translating the first Latin Bible. More commonly, Jerome is shown as a penitent hermit, dressed in a simple gray tunic with a bare chest, which he pounded with a stone to feel the pain of Jesus on the cross. Many images conflate these different roles to reference Jerome’s multifaceted reputation. He is also typically accompanied by a lion in reference to the story that he removed a thorn from the animal’s paw, which left the beast eternally indebted to him.
Fra Angelico, Penitent St. Jerome, ca. 1424. Princeton University Art Museum
Caravaggio, St. Jerome in his Study, ca. 1605-6. Rome: Galleria Borghese
Agostino Carracci, The Last Communion of St. Jerome, 1591-2. Bologna: Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna.
Domenichino, The Last Communion of St. Jerome, 1614. Rome: Pinacoteca Vaticana.
Domenico Ghirlandaio, St. Jerome in his Study, 1480. Florence: Ognissanti.
Giovanni Bellini, St. Jerome Reading, 1505. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art.
Andrea del Castagno, St. Jerome and the Trinity.1453. Florence; Santissima Annunziata.
Fra Filippo Lippi, Funeral of St. Jerome. 1452-60. Prato: Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.
Master of the Murano Gradual, Saint Jerome Extracting a Thorn from a Lion’s Paw, ca. 1425-50. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, MS. 106, recto.