Bartolomeo Montagna

St. Jerome in Penitence

c. 1500-1507
In penance, Saint Jerome prepares to strike his breast with a rock. Unusually, the saint kneels, not in a desert but in an herb garden. The garden and the buildings prominently shown at the right link the painting with the Gesuati hermits in Vicenza, who were known for their herbal remedies and for a cordial made with lemon balm. The parrot is a pun on their custom of constantly repeating the name of Jesus – Gesù in Italian. At the right is the church of San Girolamo, on the facade of which Montagna painted a fresco of the saint in a landscape.
Title
St. Jerome in Penitence
Date
c. 1500-1507
Medium
Painting
Materials
oil and tempera on canvas
Dimensions
103.1 x 136.4 cm
Nationality
Italian
Credit line
Purchased 1929
Accession number
3699