Tisi, Benvenuto (called Il Garofalo)

Meditation of Saint Jerome

circa 1520-25

Place Made
Italy: Ferrara
Tempera on panel
20 1/4 x 23 3/4 in (51.44 x 60.33 cm)
Credit Line
The Samuel H. Kress Collection
Accession #

St. Jerome is known as the first scholar of the church and the translator of the Bible into Latin. Jerome is customarily presented either in a private study or in a cave as a hermit. An old legend claims that Jerome took the thorn out of a lion’s paw and the animal became his loyal companion.

While this picture is a fictive setting, the small altarpiece of the Madonna and Child on the right offers a fascinating glimpse of how people worshiped in private. Small devotional pictures were common in households.

This painting hangs between works created by artists practicing in Milan (on left) and Venice (on right). This references Garofalo’s literal and artist position within these artistic traditions. He embraced the naturalism favored by the Lombard school as well as the crisp, defined form of Venetian realism.