|The Last Communion of Saint Jerome|
|Medium||Tempera on panel|
|Dimensions||34.3 cm × 25.5 cm (13.5 in × 10.0 in)|
|Location||Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York|
The picture was inspired by the pseudepigraphical medieval Epistle of Eusebius to Damasus,: 303–304 also known as De morte Hieronymi. Rita Lizzi Testa writes, “The painting represents the very moment in which Jerome, having gathered his companions from the monastery around him, is lying on a linen sheet and is asking one of his brothers to bring him the body of Christ….The epistle recalls that when Jerome saw the priest come closer, he asked his companions to help him get to his knees, while professing his faith in Christ whose body and blood are present in the wafer.” : 306 No ancient author is known to have described this scene. : 306
Testa connects the subject matter of Botticelli’s painting with the preaching of Girolamo Savonarola in Florence around the time of its execution. The pseudepigraphical epistle from which the scene derives had lately become popular in Italy, undergoing several reprints from 1471 to 1487, meanwhile the supporters of Savonarola found in it “a simplified compendium of what they believed to be the authentic message of the most ancient form of Christianity”. : 312–313 Botticelli was commissioned by Francesco del Pugliese, a noted follower of Savonarola, and Testa opines that del Pugliese, sensing an analogue between the figures of Jerome and Savonarola, may have been “thinking of the last moments of Savonarola’s life” when he commissioned this particular scene. : 316
The subject was also later depicted by the Baroque Bolognese painter Agostino Carracci in his painting now in the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, and by the Baroque painter Domenichino in a painting in the Vatican Pinacoteca.
- Testa, Rita Lizzi (2007). "The ascetic portrayed: Jerome and Eusebius of Cremona in the Italian art and culture of the renaissance". In Amirav, Hagit; ter Haar Romeny, Bas (eds.). From Rome to Constantinople: Studies in Honour of Averil Cameron. Leuven: Brill. ISBN 978-90-429-1971-6.
- Pabel, Hilmar M. “Portraying Jerome”. Herculean labours : Erasmus and the editing of St. Jerome's letters in the Renaissance. Leiden: Brill, 2008. (online)
- Christiansen, Keith (Fall 1983), "Early Renaissance Narrative Painting in Italy", The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 12–14
- Horne, Herbert P. (March 1915), "The Last Communion of St. Jerome by Sandro Botticelli", The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 39+52–56, doi:10.2307/3254048, JSTOR 3254048
- ——— (April 1915), "The Last Communion of St. Jerome by Sandro Botticelli (Continued)", The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 72–75, doi:10.2307/3253504, JSTOR 3253504
- ——— (May 1915), "The Last Communion of St. Jerome by Sandro Botticelli (Concluded)", The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 10, no. 5, pp. 101–105, doi:10.2307/3253423, JSTOR 3253423
- Zeri, Federico; Gardner, Elizabeth E. (1971), Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 1, Florentine School, New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 159–163