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Picture - Saint Jerome in the Wilderness
  • Saint Jerome in the Wilderness
    Zuccato, Francesco
  • Enlarge image

Saint Jerome in the Wilderness

  • Object:

    Picture

  • Place of origin:

    Venice (made)

  • Date:

    1566 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Zuccato, Francesco (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Glass micromosaic with gilded wood frame.

  • Credit Line:

    The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.962:1, 2-2008

  • Gallery location:

    Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 73, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries, case South Wall []

Francesco Zuccato created this mosaic of St Jerome for a contest organised by the authorities of St Mark's in Venice in 1566. The competition was to establish who was best among the master mosaicists. Francesco and his brother won first and second prizes.

Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.

Physical description

Rectangular micromosaic depicting Saint Jerome as an old, white haired, bearded man with a halo dressed in blue and purple robes, kneeling in right profile in a landscape setting. In his right hand he holds a rock and with his left arm he cradles a wooden crucifix. In the foreground is a red hat and by Jerome's right knee is a lion.

Place of Origin

Venice (made)

Date

1566 (made)

Artist/maker

Zuccato, Francesco (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Glass micromosaic with gilded wood frame.

Dimensions

Weight: 27 kg mosaic, Width: 51.8 cm mosaic, Height: 82.5 cm frame, Width: 72.5 cm frame, Depth: 13.5 cm frame, Weight: 27.0 kg including frame

Object history note

Provenance: Phillibert Emmanuel, Duke of Savoy, sale, Christie's, London, lot 54, 05/07/1994.

Historical significance: Some of the history of this mosaic is described in a historical novel by the French writer George Sand (1804-1876) entitled 'The Master Mosaicists'. However, she records that Valerio Zuccato, Francesco's brother, won the first prize, although documentary evidence has shown that she was wrong.

Historical context note

St Jerome is portrayed in one of his traditional poses as the Penitent. He is shown grey haired and beareded, dishevelled and semi-naked, kneeling with a rock held in his hand for beating his breast, before a crucifix in the desert with a skull nearby. He is accompanied by his customary attributes, a cardinal's hat and a lion.

Jerome was an intelligent and volatile youth who travelled on a spiritually inspiring pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He later spent four years among scorpions and wild beasts styding Hebrew in the Syrian desert.

Descriptive line

Mosaic picture depicting St Jerome in the wilderness, Francesco Zuccato, Venice, 1566

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

Christie's Review of the Season 1994. London: Christie's, p. 121.
Sand, George. The Master Mosaistes. Introduction and notes by Henri Lavagne. Paris: Chene, 1993, f.n. 148.
Lavagne, Henri. Sand et les Mosaiques de Saint Marc. Les Amis de George Sand, 1996, p. 9 and cover illustration.
Schroder, Timothy, ed. The Gilbert Collection at the V&A. London (V&A Publishing) 2009, p. 74, pl. 56. ISBN9781851775934

Labels and date

St Jerome in the Wilderness
1566

Francesco Zuccato created this mosaic of St Jerome for a contest organised by the authorities of St Mark's in Venice in 1566. The goal was to establish who was best among the master mosaicists. Francesco and his brother won first and second prizes.

Venice, Italy; Francesco Zuccato (died 1572-7)
Glass mosaic with gilded wood frame
Museum no. Loan: Gilbert 962:1,2-2008 [2009]

Materials

Mosaic glass; Gilt wood

Techniques

Micromosaic; Gilding; Carving

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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