St. Jerome in the Desert (Bellini, Birmingham)

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St. Jerome in the Desert
Giovanni Bellini - San Girolamo nel deserto.jpg
ArtistGiovanni Bellini
Yearc. 1450
Mediumegg tempera on wood
Dimensions44 cm × 39 cm (17 in × 15 in)
LocationBarber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham

St. Jerome in the Desert is a c. 1450 egg tempera on wood painting by Giovanni Bellini, now in the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham, England.[1]

Universally recognised as Bellini's earliest surviving work, painted when he was around 16,[2][3] it depicts Saint Jerome shown semi-naked seated on a rock in front of his cave in the Syrian Desert with a book in his left hand, referring to his life as a hermit and as the producer of the Vulgate Bible, and his faithful lion in front of him. The saint appears in the gesture of giving him a blessing, while the lion still has the famous thorn on his paw, which according to the legend was removed by Jerome.[4][5]


  1. ^ Verdi, R. (2005). The Barber Institute of Fine Arts: The University of Birmingham. Scala. ISBN 978-1-85759-373-0. Retrieved 15 April 2019. ... Bellini studied in the workshop of his father, Jacopo, where he probably painted this small panel, which is universally regarded as his earliest ...
  2. ^ Andrews, M. (1999). Landscape and Western Art. Landscape and Western art. Oxford University Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-19-284233-6. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  3. ^ Humfrey, P. (2008). The Cambridge Companion to Giovanni Bellini. Cambridge Companions to the History of Art. Cambridge University Press. p. 168. ISBN 978-0-521-72855-3. Retrieved 15 April 2019. In the case of Bellini, it is almost inevitable that his landscapes should be suffused with the figures and concepts of Christian devotion. In the Birmingham picture, Jerome and the lion are the protagonists of the story ...
  4. ^ Gasparotto, D. (2017). Giovanni Bellini: Landscapes of Faith in Renaissance Venice. J. Paul Getty Museum. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-60606-531-0. Retrieved 15 April 2019.