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Antonello da Messina

St. Jerome in His Study is a work by Antonello da Messina (c. 1430-79), a Sicilian painter whose precise oil technique had an enormous influence on the course of Venetian painting in the 1470s. This work demonstrates the exacting detail and mastery of light and color that Antonello learned, directly or indirectly, from the Netherlandish painters. It also displays the artist's adoption of the Northern school's love of symbolic objects. The iconographic scheme of the painting is directly related to the well-known life and legends of Jerome, one of the most important of the Patristic writers of the early church. A description of the work and its history will be followed by a brief discussion of Jerome's life and an analysis of major elements of the painting's symbolic content.

St. Jerome in His Study is an oil painting on a wooden panel that measures only 18 x 14 1/8" (46 x 37 cm.) and is in the collection of the National Gallery in London. The scene is viewed through a framing stone arch which serves as a window to the interior space in which Jerome sits at his desk in what Hartt says is "apparently an alcove of a monastic library" (365). The style of the arch is Spanish Gothic and this, like the majolica tiles of the floor, was a typical characteristic of Sicilian architecture. But the arch also affords a view of a very different interior and its style matches neither the Romanesque clerestory windows above nor the plain rectangular windows of the lower story that are visible at the left and right rear of the painting. The leftward extension of the odd combination of desk, shelves, and platform in Jerome's alcove forms an arch that leads into a rather plain room. On the right, however, a row of delicate arches forms a corridor leading to the windows.

Among the objects and creatures in the painting are a quail, a peacock, and a brass bowl that rest on the ledge outside the study. On the platform, and alongside the desk...

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Antonello da Messina. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:52, December 06, 2021, from