Dose of Art #161: Ercole de’ Roberti – Saint Jerome in the Wilderness (c. 1474)

Saint Jerome is, along with Saint Gregory the Great, Saint Augustine, and Saint Ambrose, one of the four doctors of the Church. He was born around 340 at Stridon on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia and was educated in Rome. After being baptized, he undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy Land after which he retired into the desert in Syria to pay penitence and to live as a hermit. He returned to Rome in 382 and was commissioned by Pope Damasus to translate the Bible from the original Hebrew and Greek into Latin (the Vulgate).
De’ Roberti’s painting is one of the first (it’s over 500 years old now) showing Saint Jerome. It is a fascinating painting with a life-like Jerome and a small lion (which looks more like a dog) beside him (see the detail).

The lion which, after Jerome removed a thorn from his paw, accompanied him.