Saint Jerome by Liberale da Verona

I’ve spent a more than average amount of time searching out underknown Renaissance images of Saint Jerome. This one by Liberale da Verona in the Palais Fesch on Corsica is far my favorite of all Jeromes, known and underknown. It is the only one I’ve ever seen where man and lion physically embrace, visually blend (observe the brushwork on the hair and beard/mane), and seem on the way to spiritual unity. Generally the lion is relegated to the frowning sideline while Jerome flagellates to a memento mori or hunches over a desk.

Liberale is not popular – his chess players in the Met and St. Sebastian in the Brera (which best shows Mantegna’s influence) are probably his only even moderately known works. But he did at least merit a brief biographical entry in Vasari (here but you have to scroll down a bit to pg.11).

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