Saint Jerome Hearing the Trumpet of the Last Judgment

Artist: Jusepe de Ribera (called Lo Spagnoletto) (Spanish, Játiva 1591–1652 Naples)

Date: 1621

Medium: Etching, engraving, and drypoint; first state of two (Brown)

Dimensions: Sheet: 12 15/16 × 9 5/8 in. (32.8 × 24.4 cm)
Plate: 12 11/16 × 9 1/16 in. (32.3 × 23 cm)

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1953

Accession Number: 53.512.5


This is almost certainly the first of Ribera's two etchings depicting Saint Jerome in the wilderness, interrupted by the sound of a trumpet. Its date—1621—indicates that it postdates the painting of the same subject Ribera sent to the Colegiata in Osuna in Spain. The five paintings by Ribera in Osuna were early commissions received soon after the artist settled in Naples.
Although the etching relates to the painting, there are many disparities. In the print the saint is shown seated and sharpening his pen rather than reclining and contemplating a skull, and the angel is suggested only by hands that emerge from clouds, clasping the trumpet. Such variations are typical of Ribera, who characteristically used printmaking to experiment with compositions that had already appeared in paint as well as to disseminate his images to a wider public.