The Iconography of St. Jerome

We have dealt with the story of the lion, and the images of penitence, on the 'Jerome in the Wilderness' page. 
  This painting shows him in the familiar red robes of a cardinal, which he never was; there were no cardinals in the fourth century. It was thought that Jerome's rôle as a secretary to a Pope made him at least an honorary one. Even images of Jerome in rags in the desert may have the red hat somewhere in the painting - it would certainly be useful to keep the sun off. 
   Venetian paintings often go for a red cloak without the cardinal's hat; but then, Venice  had a love-hate relationship with cardinals.
  The model church is an familiar attribute, showing him as a doctor of the church - I'm not sure why Jerome was singled out to carry this - there were other doctors of the church after all. 
  The books are there to underline Jerome's scholarship. 
   In this image the other figure is Saint Augustine. As can be seen from his face, Augustine didn't always see eye to eye with Jerome; typically here, Jerome isn't taking the slightest notice.

Carlo Crivelli
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

  St. Jerome Index                                                                                           Home page