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Saint Jerome as a Penitent

El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) Greek

Not on view

Paintings of the penitent Saint Jerome flourished from about 1400 onward and were preferred by Counter-Reformation writers during El Greco’s lifetime. In this picture—one of the artist’s most expressive treatments of the subject—the red hat and robe, the books, and the symbols of death and salvation summarize the saint’s exemplary life.

As a young man, Jerome (ca. 347–420) was devoted to classical literature and the sensual pleasures of Rome. He later retreated to the Syrian dessert for a life of study and self-denial, translating the Bible into Latin (the Vulgate).

Saint Jerome as a Penitent, El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) (Greek, Iráklion (Candia) 1541–1614 Toledo), Oil on canvas

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