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Print - St Jerome in His Cell
  • St Jerome in His Cell
    Dürer, Albrecht, born 1471 - died 1528
  • Enlarge image

St Jerome in His Cell

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    Nuremberg (wood-cutting)

  • Date:

    1511 (wood-cutting)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Dürer, Albrecht, born 1471 - died 1528 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Woodcut on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Miss Alice Carthew

  • Museum number:

    E.738-1940

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case EW, shelf 143, box H

Physical description

Woodcut print depicting the Church Father St Jerome writing in his monastic cell. St Jerome was a theologian and ascetic who made a Latin translation of the bible. His figure fills the centre of the cell and he is bent intently over his work at a small writing desk. A crucifix is attached to the desk facing him. The cell is intimate and cluttered. There are books, writing materials, an hourglass and objects used for devotion and penitence. A chest, cushion and curtain introduce an element of comfort. A lion, often associated with the saint, fills the bottom left hand corner of the composition.

Place of Origin

Nuremberg (wood-cutting)

Date

1511 (wood-cutting)

Artist/maker

Dürer, Albrecht, born 1471 - died 1528 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Woodcut on paper

Marks and inscriptions

AD
Printed as a monogram towards the bottom right of the print

1511
Printed on the base of the chest in the bottom right hand corner of the print

Dimensions

Height: 9.25 in, Width: 6.25 in

Object history note

This is one of the six single leaf woodcuts that Dürer issued in 1511. It is classed as one of a group of prints that Dürer referred to as 'Schlechtes Holzwerk' (modest woodcuts).

The print was part of a large bequest made to the Museum in 1940

Historical significance: Dürer's detailed compositions in woodcut pushed the medium to new heights, demonstrating its expressive and narrative potential. Woodcuts form a significant part of Dürer's output, outnumbering paintings and intaglio prints and show the artist at his most innovative. He moved away from the two dimensional quality of earlier woodcuts, using hatching and undulating parallel lines to create form and dramatic contrasts of light and shade.

It is thought that Dürer did not cut the wood blocks himself, but followed the practice of the day by using professional form-cutters (formschneider). Form-cutters are recorded in Dürer's home city of Nuremburg as early as 1397. With the advent of moveable type the form-cutter's work became increaingly to cut designs and images for book illustration and single leaf prints. In this print the chiaroscuro effects are enhanced by extensive use of cross-hatching, creating a mesh of lines that would have required great skill to cut on the block.

Historical context note

Dürer returned to the subject of St Jerome many times in paintings, drawings, engravings and woodcuts - an indication of the popularity of the saint.

Descriptive line

Saint Jerome in his cell, woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, Germany, 1511

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

Walter L.Strauss. Albrecht Dürer Woodcuts and Woodblocks. Abaris books, New York, 1980. p 458

Techniques

Woodcut

Subjects depicted

Crucifix; Hourglass; Desks; Lions; Books; Study; Cell

Categories

Prints; Woodcuts; Christianity

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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