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Landscape with Saint Jerome
Patinir, Joachim
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Patinir, Joachim

Dinant (Belgium), 1480 - Antwerp, 1524

See author's file

Landscape with Saint Jerome

1516 - 1517. Oil on panel.
Room 055A

Patinir shows St Jerome sitting inside the wooden shack that leans against the rocks in the foreground. As with the Landscape with the Martyrdom of St Catherine in Vienna (Kunsthistorisches Museum), the painter here raises the line of the horizon, leading to an increase in the space devoted to the landscape and the consequent reduction of the sky (although this has been cut down still further, it should be recalled, by the disappearance of the curved upper portion of the picture). Patinir may have taken his inspiration for the features of the landscape from Namur, since the bare outcrops of jagged rock are reminiscent of that region. The position occupied by the saint on the left of the panel, together with the rocky outcrops, make this the most dynamically balanced of the painter`s works. It is divided into two parts. On the left and in the foreground to the right is the solitude of nature, representative of the desert to which St Jerome has retired. Further towards the background in the centre and on the right is everyday, earthly activity.

In the Prado picture, he developed the model which had been used by the first Flemish painters of the fifteenth century, from Rogier van der Weyden to Memling, which shows the saint extracting the thorn from the lion`s foot in a cave amidst the solitude of nature. In this way, Patinir incorporated the apocryphal passage on the saint`s life in Jacobus De Voragine`s Golden Legend, who situates this episode outside the monastery of Bethlehem in the presence of the friars, and not when St Jerome is on his own as in the Prado panel. In this, the artist follows both Weyden and Memling, but he departs from them in showing the lion with its mouth open, roaring in pain. If Patinir`s St Jerome at the Prado is compared with the works of the painters who preceded him in following this type of iconography, it can be seen that he stood apart from tradition not only in the absolute prominence accorded to the landscape over the figures, but also in the fact that the saint is not dressed as a cardinal, nor does he have the robes and hat of the cardinalate next to him. Another novelty aspect of the Prado St Jerome, apparently traditional, is the inclusion of the skull resting against the rock next to the cross, since this memento mori of Italian origin joined the saint`s iconography when he was represented in his study, the first to do so in Northern painting being Albrecht Durer in his 1514 engraving of St Jerome, one of his Meisterstiche. As he did in his other versions of St Jerome`s penitence in the desert, save for the Karlsruhe panel, Patinir incorporates passages from the story of the lion in Jacobus de Voragine`s Golden Legend, which he distributes around various areas of the picture. Nearly in the centre of the composition, to the right of the rock against which the saint`s shack is leaning, the ass is seen carrying wood in the middle ground. In the company of a monk, it is on its way up to the monastery on the other side. There too is the caravan of camels, shown twice. In accordance with the innovative character of the motifs introduced by Patinir, the Prado panel also includes another passage of the story of the lion as related by Voragine. When the stolen ass is recognized, the lion runs to rejoin it, and the ass does likewise, ignoring its rider and nearly throwing him off.

The analysis of the underlying drawing with the multitude of changes made even at this stage of the creative process, though noticeable above all in the painting phase, allows us to corroborate that the Prado St Jerome was a prototype developed by Patinir on the basis of earlier experiments in the representation of the same subject. Although other artists may have collaborated on the figures in other works by Patinir, this is not the case in the Prado panel, where St Jerome displays the features regarded as typical of the painter and defined by Robert Koch in his monograph on the artist (Silva, P.: Patinir. Essays and critical catalogue, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2007, pp. 292-303).


Technical data

Inventory number
Patinir, Joachim
Landscape with Saint Jerome
1516 - 1517
Height: 74 cm; Width: 91 cm
Royal Collection (Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo, El Escorial-Madrid, oratorio de la Enfermería, 1839).

Bibliography +

Lassaigne, Jacques, La Peinture Flamande. De Jerome Bosch a Rubens, Albert Skira, Ginebra, 1958, pp. 30.

Koch, Robert A., Joachim Patinir, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1968, pp. 75/ lám.28.

Franz, Heinrich Gerhard, Niederlandische Landschaftesmalerei in Zeitalter des Manieri, Akademische DruckU.Verlagsanstalt, Graz, 1969, pp. ?/ lám.10.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Friedländer, Max J., Early netherlandish painting, A.W.Sijthoff, Leyden-Bruselas, 1973.

Pons, Maurice, Patinir Ou L'Harmonie du Monde, Robert Laffont, Paris, 1980, pp. 104.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 496-497.

Hendrick, Jacques, La Peinture Au Pays de Liege XVI, XVII et XVIII Siecles, Editions du Perron, Liege, 1987, pp. 27/ lám.10.

Falkenburg, Reindert L., Joachim Patinir. Landscape as an image of the pilgrimage of life, John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam. Filadelfia, 1988, pp. lám.7.

Warma, Susanne Juliane, The Paintings of Giambettino Gignaroli (1706-1770), Umi, Bruselas, 1988, pp. 97.

Doce artistas de vanguardia en el Museo del Prado:Saura, Bar, Mondadori, Madrid, 1990, pp. 181.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990, pp. nº494.

Trevor-Roper, Hugh, Príncipes y artistas: mecenazgo e ideología en cuatro Cortes, Celeste, Madrid, 1992.

Checa Cremades, Fernando, Un príncipe del Renacimiento: Felipe II, un monarca y su época, Sociedad Estatal para la Commemoración de los centenarios de Felipe II y Carlos V, Madrid, 1998, pp. 436.

Silva Maroto, Pilar, Pintura flamenca de los siglos XV y XVI: guía, Museo del Prado, Aldeasa, Madrid, 2001, pp. 172.

Harbison, Craig, El espejo del artista. : el arte del Renacimiento septentrio..., Akal, Madrid, 2007, pp. 140.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Patinir. Estudios y catálogo crítico, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2007, pp. 292-303.

Merot, Alain, Du paysage en peinture : dans l' Occident moderne, Gallimard, 2009, pp. 152.

Rodríguez García de Ceballos, Alfonso, Velázquez y las ermitas del Buen Retiro: entre eremitismo religioso y el refinamiento cortesano, Atrio, 15-16, 2009 2010, pp. 135-148 [148].

Art in Spain and the Hispanic world : essays in honour of Jo..., Paul Holberton: Center for Spain, 2010, pp. 195-210.

Posada Kubissa, Teresa, El paisaje nórdico en el Prado: Rubens, Brueghel, Lorena, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2011, pp. 21/ 2.

Roma naturaleza e ideal: paisajes 1600-1650, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2011, pp. 80-81.

García-Frías Checa, Carmen, 'De la grandeza y variedad de la pintura que hay en esta casa' La colección pictórica de Felipe II en El Monasterio de El Escorial, De El Bosco a Tiziano: arte y maravilla en El Escorial, Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 2013, pp. 35-51 [41].

Newman, Abigail D., Juan de la Corte 'branding' Flanders abroad, Nederlands kunsthistorisch jaarboek, 63, 2013, pp. 264-301 [280-281 f.10].

Vitagliano, Maria A., Painting and poetry in early modern Spain: The primacy of Venetian colore in Gongora's Polyphemus and the Solitudes, Renaissance quarterly., LXVI n.3, 2013, pp. 904-936 [929 f.5].

Pérez Preciado, J.J, '«Antes morir que discutir». Sobre las atribuciones históricas de lapintura neerlandesa antigua en el Museo del Prado (1912-33)', Boletín del Museo del Prado., XXXVII 55-57, 2019-2021, pp. 190-211 [208].

Other inventories +

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 1522.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 494.
Patenier / 494. Pais. / Terreno variado, con hermosa lontananza de lagos y montañas. En primer termino san Geronimo en una gruta sacando la espina al leon. (E.) (tabla.) / alto 2 pies, 7 pulg, 8 lin; ancho 3 pies, 3 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 494.

Inscriptions +

Inscribed in black. Front, lower central area

Inscribed in black. Front, lower left corner

S. Geronimo sacando al Leon / la espina.en una chozuela. / Este cuadro procede del Escorial / y estaba en el Oratorio de la enfermeria / Joaquin Andrata
Handwritten label. Back, central area

Exhibitions +

03.07.2007 - 07.10.2007

Location +

Room 055A (On Display)


Displayed objects +




Transport, Maritime / Transport, River

Update date: 25-11-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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