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Saint Jerome

Saint Jerome

c. 1621

Hendrick ter Brugghen

(Dutch, 1588-1629)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 149.2 x 125.4 x 8.3 cm (58 3/4 x 49 3/8 x 3 1/4 in.); Painted surface: 125.5 x 102 cm (49 7/16 x 40 3/16 in.); Tacking margins of oritinal fabric let out: 131.5 x 107 cm (51 3/4 x 42 1/8 in.); Former: 148 x 124.1 x 7 cm (58 1/4 x 48 7/8 x 2 3/4 in.)

Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1977.2

Description

Not all subjects are easy to identify. This museum long thought that the subject was the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, largely because tears are part of the standard representation of this ancient thinker. However, ter Brugghen omits the other crucial key to identifying Heraclitus--a globe over which he weeps. Instead, the book and skull indicate that the figure is Saint Jerome, known for translating the Bible into Latin. The artist probably chose to show Jerome crying to intensify his penitence.

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