Piero della Francesca (Italian, Sansepolcro ca. 1412–1492 Sansepolcro)
Tempera on wood
20 × 14 15/16 in. (50.8 × 38 cm)
Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Not on view
Although its surface is worn, this picture is dated and is thus crucial to establishing a chronology for Piero’s work. The fourth-century scholar Saint Jerome is shown in the wilderness performing penance before a crucifix, the serene river landscape offering a counterpoint. The lion and the cardinal’s hat are attributes of the saint, who was said to have removed a thorn from the lion’s paw. The picture was painted for Girolamo Feretti, a cloth merchant from Ancona, where Piero is documented decorating a chapel in the cathedral in 1450.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower right, on cartellino): PERI DE / BURGO / OPUS•M / CCCCL