Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 64, The Wolfson Gallery

St Jerome in Penitence

Print
ca 1496 (engraved), 1496-1514 (printed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
engraving on paper
Brief Description
St Jerome in Penitence by Albrecht Dürer; engraving; Nuremberg; ca 1496
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.
Dimensions
  • Height: 30.4cm
  • Width: 23.5cm
Measured for the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries
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)
Gallery Label
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
Credit line
Salting Bequest
Object history
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
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.
Production
Watermark Gothic P. M.321.Briquet 8680, used from 1500 by Dürer. See Walter L. Strauss in references.
Subjects depicted
Summary
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.
Bibliographic References
  • 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
Collection
Accession Number
E.4653-1910

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record createdMarch 17, 2006
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