The death of St. Jerome

Very little is recorded about the death of Jerome. It happened in 419 or 420; legend says it was 30th September in 420. He was buried in a grotto beneath the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the spot is still recorded.  In the thirteenth century his remains were supposedly moved to Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. Did he finally managed to return to that city? Not according to some; his relics are claimed for several locations. Saints relics may or may not be miraculous, but they do have a knack for self-multiplication.

   Jerome's Last Communion was occasionally painted; in Botticelli's version a frail Jerome literally hangs up his cardinal's hat for the last time.

Last communion of St. Jerome
Metropolitan Museum, New York

   In Pietro di Sano's Jerome cycle, we see the moment of death. On the left Jerome's fellow monks and nuns weep over his body, while to the right Jerome himself is appearing to St. Augustine, using a rather modern split-screen technique. 

The Louvre, Paris

   And finally, the funeral. This picture is taken from what is, in my view, the finest Jerome cycle of all, Carpaccio's in the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni in Venice. The lion and the donkey are moping in the background; but what is the strange armadillo-like creature tied to the tree? 

St. Jerome Index 
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