Saint Jerome as Scholar

Artist: El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) (Greek, Iráklion (Candia) 1540/41–1614 Toledo)

Date: ca. 1610

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 42 1/2 x 35 1/16 in. (108 x 89 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Robert Lehman Collection, 1975

Accession Number: 1975.1.146


El Greco executed at least five paintings of Saint Jerome. In this version, from the last years of the painter's life, the saint is shown in the red vestments of a cardinal, seated before an open book, an attribute indicating his role as translator of the Bible from Greek into Latin in the fifth century. His gaunt sunken features and long white beard refer to his familiar guise as a penitent, recalling his retreat to the Syrian desert.. The painting is notable for the novel way in which the artist synthesized the two aspects of Saint Jerome, the scholarly and the ascetic.