"Painting Saint Jerome, Michelangelo Caravaggio
Description of the picture:
Saint Jerome – Caravaggio. Around 1606. Oil on canvas. 116×153
In this painting, written by Caravaggio specifically for Shipione Borghese, the painter depicted St. Jerome for his scholarly works.
Light pouring through an invisible window snatches from the twilight the reddish vestments of the saint, his head with a steep, convex forehead of the thinker, books, a skull lying on the table. “Caravaggio … every day gained immense fame,” wrote biographer Giovanni Pietro Bellory, “mainly due to its color,” not as soft and light as before, but as saturated, with strong shadows, and he often used a lot dark color to give shape to relief. And before that, he was carried away by this manner, that he didn’t let out any of his own 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 the effect. The then Roman painters were ecstatic from 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 the last concentration, a pen is in his hand. At the same time, the image made by the artist recalls the life of the hero of the picture in the desert, where he prayed and repented of his sins, as evidenced by his vestment in the hermit. Skull, one of Jerome’s attributes, illustrates the Latin dictum “memento mori” – “remember death”, and symbolizes the victory of the human spirit over mortal flesh. Between this emblem and the saint is the unfolded Bible as the way to go from the life of an ordinary mortal to the heights of the spirit. The horizontally elongated composition, so beloved by the artist, shows this long distance, but a hand with a pen reduces it."