Saint Jerome1541. Oil on panel, 80 x 108 cm.
Wearing a red habit, Saint Jerome sits at a table, pointing to his customary attribute, the skull that illustrates his meditations on the vanity of life. The bookstand holds a tome open to a page showing the Last Judgment, which alludes to his meditations on the end of earthly existence. Beginning in the fifteenth century, Saint Jerome became the patron saint of literati, and depictions of him as a penitent in the desert were joined by others of him in his studio, showing his work as an intellectual. In Marinus van Reymerswaele´s depiction, the aged and excessively thin saint directs an inquisitive gaze at the viewer. His forced gestures and the exaggerated shapes of his hands are characteristic of this artist´s figures.