Saint Jerome in the Wilderness

Object Details

Title:

Saint Jerome in the Wilderness

Artist/Maker:

Ercole de'Roberti (Italian, about 1450 - 1496)

Culture:

Italian

Date:

about 1470

Medium:

Tempera on panel

Dimensions:

34 × 21.9 cm (13 3/8 × 8 5/8 in.)

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For four years, Saint Jerome retreated to the desert, where he purified his soul through physical suffering. The bearded saint sits in front of a barren and rocky background, his emaciated body a testament to his ascetic life. He directs his gaze to a crucifix that he holds in his left hand. During his time of religious contemplation, Saint Jerome was tormented by vivid hallucinations; his right hand clasps a rock with which he would beat his breast until the visions passed. A nook in the vaulted structure behind him holds his attributes: a cardinal's hat and a book referring to his translation of the Bible into Latin. A small lion inside the shelter recalls the fable in which Jerome pulls a thorn from a lion's paw, forever securing the animal's devotion. Ercole de'Roberti was artist to the court of Ferrara in northern Italy. The elongated forms, taut, linear rhythms, subtle colors, and meticulous, gold-flecked details of this painting convey the sophistication prized by Ercole's aristocratic patrons. This small devotional painting demands a focused concentration from the viewer that echoes Jerome's efforts to come closer to God.

Provenance
by 1854 -

William Ward, first earl of Dudley, 1817 - 1885 (Witley Court, Hereford and Worcester, England)

- 1863

Walter Davenport-Bromley, 1787 - 1863 (London, England; Wooton Hall, Stafford, England; Baginton Hall, Warwick, England) [unsold, Davenport-Bromley sale, Christie's, London, June 13, 1863, lot 125.], by inheritance to his son, William Bromley-Davenport, 1863.

1863 - 1884

William Bromley-Davenport, 1821 - 1884 (Baginton Hall, Warwick, England), by inheritance to William Bromley-Davenport, 1884.

1884 - 1947

Sir William Bromley-Davenport, 1862 - 1949 (Baginton Hall, Warwick, England; Capesthorne Hall, near Macclesfield, Cheshire, England) [sold, Bromley-Davenport sale, Sotheby's, London, June 11, 1947, lot 5, to Colnaghi.]
Source: Sotheby's, London. Catalogue of Highly Important Paintings by Old Masters. June 11, 1947, p. 3, lot. 5, ill. Sold for £4000 as annotated by Ellis Kirkham Waterhouse.

1947 -

Colnaghi (London, England; Paris, France), sold to Thomas Barlow.

by 1949 - 1964

Sir Thomas Dalmahoy Barlow, 1883 - 1964 (London, England), by inheritance to his son Basil Stephen Barlow, 1964.

1964 - 1991

Basil Stephen Barlow, 1918 - 1991 (London, England), by inheritance to his heirs, 1991.

1991 - 1996

Heirs of Basil Stephen Barlow, 1918 - 1991 (London, England) [unsold, as "property of a lady," Christie's, London, December 13, 1991, lot 76], sold through Simon Dickinson Ltd. (London) to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996.

Exhibitions
Italian Art from the 13th Century to the 17th Century (August 18 to October 2, 1955) (87)
  • Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery (Birmingham), August 18 to October 2, 1955
Art Treasures Centenary: European Old Masters (October 30 to December 31, 1957) (Cat. 8)
  • Manchester Art Gallery (Manchester), October 30 to December 31, 1957
Italian Art and Britain (January 2 to March 6, 1960)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London)
From Borso to Cesare d'Este: The School of Ferrara 1450 - 1628 (June 1 to August 1, 1984) (9)
  • Matthiesen Fine Art Ltd. (London), June 1 to August 1, 1984
La minatura a Ferrara dal tempo di Cosmè Tura al primo Cinquecento (March 1 to May 31, 1998)
  • Museo Civico di Schifanoia (Ferrara), March 1 to May 31, 1998
Ercole de' Roberti: Renaissance in Ferrara (April 27 to July 11, 1999) (3)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), April 27 to July 11, 1999
The Gualenghi d'Este Hours (May 9 to July 30, 2000)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 9 to July 30, 2000
Cosmè Tura e Francesco del Cossa: L'arte a Ferrara nell'età di Borso d'Este (September 23, 2007 to January 6, 2008) (154)
  • Palazzo dei Diamanti (Ferrara), September 23, 2007 to January 6, 2008
Renaissance Splendors of the Northern Italian Courts (March 31 to June 21, 2015)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 31 to June 21, 2015
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