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Agostino Carracci (1557-1602) - St Jerome
  • Agostino Carracci (1557-1602) - St Jerome

    Agostino Carracci's work on Saint Jerome is seen by many as one of his best-known compositions. The famous Italian Baroque artist had prepared six drawings for this print which are now held in collections at Windsor, Vienne and Frankfurt. The print itself was published shortly after his death in an unfinished state (see the British Museum  number: U,2.77 for the second state), this example does not include the saint's left leg, his cardinal's hat or left hand except for the third finger. The lion furthermore is only half-finished. 


    Francesco Brizio (1574-1623) finished Carracci's work with the print being re-issued in a complete state in the fourth impression in c.1602. The print now shows the saint in a rocky landscape contemplating a crucifix in his left hand and holding a stone in his right. The lion is asleep on a rock to the left and St Jerome's cardinal hat is on the ground to the right. This print is a fourth impression and is the same as the version in the British Museum (number: U,2.78).


    The symbols in the work are briefly worth exploring. The lion is included because the saint was believed to have tamed a lion in the wilderness by healing its paw. Although never being an official cardinal, by the Renaissance period the secretary to the Pope was often in this elevated position. St Jerome was effectively the secretary to Pope Damasus I and artists began to include the hat. The rugged landscape is linked to the saint's time in the Syrian desert where he spent it in prayer and penitence. St Jerome is one of the leading figures in the early church and is recognised as a Doctor of the Church by the Catholic Church for his biblical translations into Latin and also his many scripture commentaries.


    Inscribed: Lettered within image 'Aug: Caracius. faciebat' and "P.S.F." along bottom edge below margin line (F is faded but visible).


    Medium: Engraving on laid paper, 38 x 27.5 cm, in a conservation acid-free mount.


    Condition report: Excellent condition for its age. There is a horizontal crease mark in the centre of the work from where it must have previously been folded in the past. This is not obvious unless looked at closely (see photos).

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