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Saint Jerome in his Study
Reymerswale, Marinus van
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Reymerswale, Marinus van

Reimerswaal (Netherlands), 1489 - Goes (Netherlands), 1546

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Saint Jerome in his Study

1541. Oil on panel. Room 057A

By far one the most popular themes in Marinus’ surviving work, Saint Jerome in his study has come down to us in several compositions. The preoccupation with this particular subject was a reaction to the early sixteenth-century concern with the depiction of the saint, who was venerated as one of the four fathers of the Western Church and held in high esteem as a scholar and the translator of the Bible. Its popularity in Northern Europe is associated with the influence of Erasmus of Rotterdam, who edited the works of Saint Jerome together with a biography of the holy man in 1516. The newly found interest in the study of the life and work of the saint also had a crucial influence on the emergence of the scholar’s portrait. Instead of being portrayed in the moment of divine inspiration or surrounded by hagiographic embellishment, the sage is depicted in a portrait-like manner and without a halo sitting in a domestic study. Marinus himself created different versions of the theme, most of which have survived in copies with small variations made by him or under his supervisión.

Marinus’ version of Saint Jerome discussed here is dated 1541 and combines the focus on the contemplation of worldly transience already in Dürer’s renderings of the motif with a landscape format that was introduced in Antwerp by the variants made in the workshop of Quinten Massys (1466-1530) and his son Jan (c. 1509-1575). While the versions from Massys’ workshop show an aged, sometimes melancholic but always physically strong and energetic scholar that appears to align with the ideas spread by Erasmus of Rotterdam, according to whom the saint was a learned and vigorous person, not an ancient cardinal, Marinus, like Dürer before him and in accordance with medieval tradition, characterised his Saint Jerome as an old intellectual whose physical appearance seems to have shrivelled with time. The focus is shifted toward another prevalent theme in the humanist circles following Erasmus’ teaching: the importance of a return to the study of the text of the Bible as the sole source of learning and a constant reminder of the Last Judgement. This is highlighted through the representation of the Christ Judge enthroned between the Virgin and Saint John the Baptist above the resurrection of the souls, which opens the reading from the Gospel of Matthew describing the Second Coming of Christ. By pointing at the skull on his desk, the saint, who looks directly at the spectator, warns viewers of the impending end and their own transience. Marinus created an evocative image that both reacts to the influence of humanist thought on the representation of the saint and also introduces an obvious admonitory element. The manuscript on the bookrest shows both an image of the Last Judgement and a fragment of the Vulgate in a script that was not commonly used for Latin Bibles, neither in manuscript books nor prints, but for texts written in vernacular language.

As in another version of this composition in the Prado Collection (P2100), the scribal peculiarities of copying the biblical text as well as the variations in the painted decoration of the book, which betrays a familiarity in dealing with decorative patterns typical of Northern Dutch illuminated manuscripts, are important indications that both works were created under the direction or in the workshop of Marinus. However, the two renditions slightly differ in painterly execution: the version dated 1541 is distinguished by its thin application of paint and the focus on the graphic modelling of the saint’s physiognomy with the help of white highlights, as is also the case in another Prado picture (P2100), while the shaping of the hands is limited to blended painted layers executed in a different technique (the graphic structuring of the surface of the hand by means of lines and shadows in the other version is absent here). The technique used in both works is the same, but here it is less elaborate on account of the painter’s focus on the face (Christine Seidel in Marinus. Painter from Reymerswale, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2021, pp. 117-119).

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Saint Jerome in his Study
Oil on panel, 1541
Inventory number
P002653
Author
Reymerswale, Marinus van
Title
Saint Jerome in his Study
Date
1541
Technique
Oil
Support
Panel
Dimension
Height: 80 cm.; Width: 108 cm.
Provenance
Legacy of Pablo Bosch y Barrau, 1916

Bibliography +

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catalogo provisional de las obras de arte legadas al Museo del Prado por D. Pablo Bosch, Tipográfica artística, Madrid, 1916, pp. 12 nº 21.

Friedländer, M.J., Der Hl. Hieronymus von Marinus van Reymerswale, Pantheon, 13, 1934, pp. 33-36.

Friedländer, Max J., Die altniederlandische malerei, XII, Paul Cassirer, Berlín, 1935, pp. 183 nº 162a.

Hoogewerff, G.J., De Noord-Nederlandsche schilderkunst, IV, Nijhoff, The Hague, 1941-1942, pp. 460.

Nowe, H., Keizer Karel en Zijn Tijd, Museum Voor Schone Kunsten, Gante, 1955.

Van Puyvelde, L, Considérations sur le manieristes flamands, Revue belge d'archéologie et d'histoire de l'art, 29, 1960, pp. 63-101 [78].

Laclotte, M., Le XVI Siecle Europeen. Peintures et Dessins dans les Collections publiques françaises, Ministere des Affaires Culturelles,, 1965, pp. 201.

Friedländer, Max J., Early netherlandish painting, XII, A.W.Sijthoff, Leyden, 1975, pp. 109 nº 162a.

Demus, K. Klauner, F. Schutz, K., Katalog der gemaldegalerie. Flamische malerei von Jan van Eyck bis Pieter Bruegel d.Ä., Kunsthistorische Museum, Viena, 1981, pp. 276.

Milkers, Anne, Omtrent Marinus van Reymerswaele, Gante, 1990, pp. 169.

Mackor, A, Marinus van Reymerswaele: Painter, lawyer and iconoclast, Oud Holland, 109 nº.4, 1995, pp. 191-200 [195].

Castillo-Ojugas, Antonio, Una visita médica al Museo del Prado, You & Us, Madrid, 1998, pp. 89.

Silva Maroto, Pilar, Pintura flamenca de los siglos XV y XVI: guía, Museo del Prado, Aldeasa, Madrid, 2001, pp. 206-207.

Heck, Christian, Collections du Nord-Pas-De Calais : la Peinture de Flandre e, Bij Peeters, Bruxelas, 2005, pp. 274.

Borchert, Till-Holger, Van Eyck to Durer : early netherlandish painting and Central..., Lannoo, 2010, pp. 205.

Mackor, A., 'On Marinus van Reymeswale' s St. Jerome in his study with special attention for the Brukenthal version, Brukenthal Acta Musei, XII, 2017, pp. 241-262 [255].

Seidel, Christine, 'Marinus van Reymerswale. San Jerónimo en su estudio' En:, Marinus: pintor de Reymerswale, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2021, pp. 117-119 nº 10, 139, nt 35.

Alba, L. Jover, M Gayo, M. D, Marinus: aproximación a la técnica del pintor y su taller, En Marinus: pintor de Reymerswale, Museo Nacional del Prado,, Madrid, 2021, pp. 71-85.

Pickwoad, N, 'Pinturas guarnecidas con libros. Las encuadernaciones en la obra de Marinus van Reymerswale' En:, Marinus: pintor de Reymerswale, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2021, pp. 57-69.

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 1401.
Autor = Marinus de Reymerswale, Marinus de Zeeuw, llamado Marino Claesroon. / 1401. Asunto = San Jerónimo (Tabla) / Dimensiones = Alto = 0,80 Ancho = 1,08

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1942-1996. Núm. 2653.

Inscriptions +

Marinus · me · fecit
Signed. Front, center

1541
Dated. Front, center

LAOBRANOTIENETRANSCRIPCIONES

Exhibitions +

Marinus. Painter from Reymerswale
Madrid
09.03.2021 - 13.06.2021

Location +

Room 057A (On Display)

Expuesto

Displayed objects +

Skull

Bible: El texto incluido en el libro representado en esta pintura muestra el mismo fragmento de Mateo 25, 31-46, con algunas abreviaturas ligeramente diferentes y con el último verso omitido, que vemos en la obra del Museo del Prado P2100. Tiene 32 líneas en lugar de las 37 que aparecen en el ejemplar de P2100.

Candlestick

Candle

Glasses: Anteojos binoculares de puente articulado; representados plegados y guardados en su funda.

Crucifix

Update date: 24-06-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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