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Print - St Jerome in Penitence
  • St Jerome in Penitence
    Dürer, Albrecht, born 1471 - died 1528
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St Jerome in Penitence

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    Nuremberg (engraving (printing process))

  • Date:

    ca 1496 (engraved)
    1496-1514 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Dürer, Albrecht, born 1471 - died 1528 (designer)
    Dürer, Albrecht, born 1471 - died 1528 (engraver)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    engraving on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:

    E.4653-1910

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 64, The Wolfson Gallery, case 4

This print demonstrates the use that Dürer made of studies from nature in his graphic work. The landscape setting of this print is inspired by Dürer's travels through the Alps and his watercolour studies of quarries and cliffs around Nuremberg in about 1495. These studies are the earliest pure landscape studies to survive in Western art.

Dürer produced six prints of St Jerome during his career, including his first signed wood block. He also used the subject St Jerome in a landscape for a small devotional panel painting now in the National Gallery, London. Dürer's interest in St Jerome reflects the increasing veneration which was given to the Church Fathers during the 15th century.For northern artists it was more usual to depict St. Jerome in his cell working on his translation of the bible. St Jerome in Penitence is thought to have been introduced into Italian art from about 1400 and Dürer may have seen examples of it on his travels to Italy.

Physical description

Engraving depicting St Jerome fasting. The bare-chested saint is shown kneeling before a small crucifix. He holds a stone in his right hand with which to strike his chest in an act of penitence. A lion lies by his side. The setting is a sparse rocky landscape with an inlet of water. In the background there is a spired chapel and a castle is visible in the distance on the right.

Place of Origin

Nuremberg (engraving (printing process))

Date

ca 1496 (engraved)
1496-1514 (printed)

Artist/maker

Dürer, Albrecht, born 1471 - died 1528 (designer)
Dürer, Albrecht, born 1471 - died 1528 (engraver)

Materials and Techniques

engraving on paper

Marks and inscriptions

AD
In monogram form towards the bottom of the print in the centre

[Gothic P with flower]
watermark, partially cut off, horizontally towards bottom of print

Dimensions

Height: 30.4 cm, Width: 23.5 cm

Object history note

This impression was acquired by the museum in 1910 as part of the Salting Bequest.

Historical significance: The watercolur landscape studies that Dürer made in the Alps on his journey to Italy in 1495 are the earliest pure landscape studies to survive in western art. This print demonstrates the use that Dürer made of these studies from nature in his graphic work For Northern artists it was more usual to depict St. Jerome in his cell working on his translation of the bible. Panofsky suggests that the St Jerome in Penitence type is Italian in origin (Panofsky, Erwin, 'The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer'. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955. p 77).

Historical context note

The landscape setting of this print is inspired by Dürer's travels through the Alps and his watercolour studies of quarries and cliffs around Nuremberg. One of these studies relating to the cliffs on the right-hand side of the print is in the British Museum (Bartrum, Giulia. 'Albrecht Dürer and his Legacy: The Graphic Work of a Renaissance Artist', London British Museum, 2002, catalogue number 45).

The landscape is Dürer's interpretation of the desert where St Jerome fasted. Dürer produced six prints of St Jerome during his career (including his first signed wood block). He also used the subject of St Jerome in a landscape for a small devotional panel painting (now in the National Gallery, London). Dürer's interest in St Jerome reflects the increasing veneration which was given to the Church Fathers during the 15th century.

St Jerome is one of the Church Fathers. He was an ascetic and theologian famous for his translation of the bible into Latin and revision of existing translations. From 374-9 he led an ascetical life in the desert of Chalcis, south-west of Antioch. He is often depicted with a lion in reference to a legend in which he was befriended by a lion after extracting a thorn from its paw.

Descriptive line

St Jerome in Penitence by Albrecht Dürer; engraving; Nuremberg; ca 1496

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Bartrum, Giulia. Albrecth Dürer and his Legacy: The Graphic Work of a Renaissance Artist. London British Museum, 2002. 46.
Panofsky, Erwin. The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955. pp 77, 82.
Strauss, Walter L. The intaglio prints of Albrecht Dürer. New York: Kennedy Galleries and Abaris Books, 1976. p. 331.
Strauss, Walter L., ed. The Illustrated Bartsch 10 (Commentary): Sixteenth Century German Artists, Albrecht Dürer. New York: Abaris Books, 1980. 328 p., ill. ISBN 089835000X. No.84, pp.187-189.
Heller, Joseph. Das Leben und die Werke Albrecht Dürer. Bamberg: 1827. Vols. 2 & 3 (vol. 1 was not published). No.963.
Meder, Joseph. Dürer-Katalog: Ein Handbuch über Albrecht Dürers Stiche, Radierungen, Holzschnitte, deren Zustände, Ausgaben und Wasserzeichen. Vienna, 1932. No.85.
Dodgson, Campbell. Albrecht Dürer, Numerical Catalogue of the Engravings, Etchings, Dry-Points with Technical Details. London 1926. No.17.
Tietze, Hans and Erika Tietze-Conrat. Kritisches Verzeichnis der Werke Albrecht Dürers. Vol. 1, Augsburg 1928; vol.2, Basel and Leipzig 1937; vol.3, Basel and Leipzig, 1938. No.184.
Panofsky, Erwin. Albrecht Dürer. Princeton 1943. (Addenda in the editions of 1945 and 1948). No.191.
Strauss, W.L. The Intaglio Prints of Albrecht Dürer . New York, 1977.
Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design, Accessions 1910, London, Printed for His Majesty’s Stationery Office 1911

Labels and date

ST JEROME IN PENITENCE
1496
Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528)

Dürer's prints could be found in art collections throughout Europe, alongside paintings and 'natural wonders'. Contemporary viewers were astonished by their originality, naturalism and subtlety of line. The landscape here is based on watercolour studies of quarries near Nuremberg.

Germany, Nuremberg

Engraving on paper

This impression about
1500-1514

Signed with the artist's monogram 'AD'

Salting Bequest

Museum no. E.4653-1910 []

Production Note

Watermark Gothic P. M.321.Briquet 8680, used from 1500 by Dürer. See Walter L. Strauss in references.

Materials

Paper; Printing ink

Techniques

Engraving

Subjects depicted

Chapels; Penitence; Fasting; Lion (animal)

Categories

Prints

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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