Pensionante del Saraceni

The Penitent Saint Jerome in his Study

c. 1615
Formerly attributed to Carlo Saraceni, this major discovery for the history of the Baroque in Rome has been only recently ascribed to his close follower - the "Pensionante del Saraceni", or Lodger of Carlo Saraceni. The nationality of this still anonymous painter remains uncertain. His style is a softer and more intimate version of Caravaggio’s, yet shares the same intense emotional content and obsession with the effects of light and shade. This representation of the saint in an austere interior setting with an open window was directly inspired by Caravaggio’s "Calling of Saint Matthew" in the church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome. The figure was in part an excuse for the painter to depict the myriad still-life elements so accurately portrayed that make up the majority of the canvas and contribute to the enigmatic quality of the image. Frame: running moulding, gilded. Italy (Rome), c. 1700. Made for the work.

In white chalk at the reverse, on lining canvas: '33'

On the bottom member of the stretcher, a red wax (?) seal, illegible, circular with a coat of arms with a crown above the shield

c. 1800 –
Muller (Müller?) collection, Strasbourg, France [1]

by 1953 –
Marie Therese Brautigam (Bräutigam?), Germany, by inheritance [2]

2004/10/05 –
National Gallery of Canada, purchased through Nicholas H. J. Hall, Hall & Knight, New York, N.Y., USA [3]

[1] According to Nicholas Hall of Hall & Knight, New York, the painting had been in a German family collection for two centuries [E-mail from Sherry Lawson, Christie's, on behalf of Nicholas Hall to David Franklin, NGC Chief Curator, October 4, 2004, NGC curatorial file].

[2] See note [1].

[3] The painting was purchased from Hall & Knight , New York, who acted as agents in the sale [Accession records, NGC curatorial file].

The Penitent Saint Jerome in his Study
c. 1615
oil on canvas
171.4 x 122.4 cm; 187.96 x 142.24 x 10.92 cm (framed)
Credit line
Purchased 2004
Accession number