Leonardo da Vinci, "Saint Jerome". The story of one painting

Painting "St. Jerome” – one of the most expressive works of the great masters of the Renaissance. Today it is kept in the Pinacoteca of the Vatican and, despite its incompleteness, has attracted more and more attention of admirers of Leonardo da Vinci.

Saint Jerome in the desert



Jerome is still revered in the Orthodox and Catholic tradition as one of the teachers of the Church. The plot is one of the two iconographic images of St. Jerome. Usually in the artistic tradition he is depicted either in the form of a cardinal in a red robe, with attributes of learning and high dignity, or as a penitent, dressed in simple clothes, in the desert, beating himself with a stone in the chest.
Leonardo da Vinci appealed to the second image, depicting the penitent elder half-naked, in old clothes, in the middle of a desert landscape. In the hand holds the Holy stone, he is ready to inflict a blow. At his feet lies a lion, raised the head of the beast opened and in the roar of the jaws facing towards the old man.

it is no Coincidence that the artist placed the king of beasts at the feet of the Saint. According to legend, the monk Jerome pulled a thorn from the paw of the lion is lame. Since then, the grateful beast became his faithful companion and helper, and is often portrayed in the paintings next to the Saint.

Florentine period, Leonardo da Vinci. "Saint Jerome": the creation of a painting

Great work on the religious story was commissioned da Vinci the Church leadership of his native Florence in 1480. The young artist was still working in the Studio of his teacher Andrea Verokko – a famous master of the early Renaissance.
However, large-scale work on the Board over a meter in height not destined to become the completed painting. In 1482, due to political intrigue, serving in Milan, Leonardo da Vinci. "St Jerome" remains in Florence, and the wizard never comes back to work on him.

Modern pictures

Today the work in the pictorial sense, is preserved as it was left by Leonardo da Vinci. Saint Jerome on the background of rocks, a lion at his feet, the landscape in the background drawn in bright podmalevka. The rocks and desert surrounding them, intended dark. Expressive figure of the Saint is thoroughly researched and prepared for the paint layer, while the other items are only outlined the General contours. Even in this scenario, the work is striking in expression and the tragedy of the created image.


fortunately, the “St. Jerome" Leonardo is not subjected to later attempts of artists to finish the masterpiece. However, until the present day the picture came in bad condition. Once sawn into two parts, it has existed as a cover for the casket, and then countertops for almost three centuries. And only in the 19th century had been re-established and took its place among the other masterpieces in the collection of the Vatican.