The J. Paul Getty Museum

Initial E: Saint Jerome in His Study

Object Details


Initial E: Saint Jerome in His Study


Attributed to the Master of the Birago Hours (Italian, active about 1460 - about 1480)




Lombardy, Italy (Place Created)


about 1470 - 1480


Tempera and gold on parchment

Object Number:

Ms. 76 (2003.90), recto


Leaf: 14.5 × 14 cm (5 11/16 × 5 1/2 in.)

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Object Description

Saint Jerome, who single-handedly translated the entire Bible into Latin in the years around 400, sits at a writing desk with a quill pen in one hand and a knife (used to sharpen and erase) in the other hand. Other objects depicted associated with the making of manuscripts are an inkhorn, hanging from the top right of the chair, a candle, and a dish, probably for grinding pigments, at the top.

Jerome, who is one of the four church fathers, is dressed in his cardinal's outfit. Notable in the figure of Jerome is the refinement with which his face is modeled. An uncommon feature of this miniature is the silver leaf that was used to create the saint's distinguished gray beard.

Dalla Bibbia di Corradino a Jacopo della Quercia: Sculture e Miniature italiane del Medioevo e del Rinascimento (May 15 to June 20,1997)
  • Galleria Nella Longari (Milan), May 15 to June 20, 1997
Masterpieces in Miniature: Italian Manuscripts from the Middle Ages and Renaissance (March 29 to June 12, 2005)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 29 to June 12, 2005
Masterpieces in Miniature: Italian Manuscript Illumination from the J. Paul Getty Museum (September 25, 2005 to January 2, 2006)
  • National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), September 25, 2005 to January 2, 2006
Music for the Masses: Illuminated Choir Books (August 14 to October 28, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), August 14 to October 28, 2007