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A bearded and balding man with deeply tanned skin, dressed only in a strip of robin’s egg-blue fabric around his shoulders and hips, sits reading a book on a rock at the entrance to a craggy cave, in front of a landscape in this vertical painting. In the lower right corner of the composition, the man, Saint Jerome, faces our left in profile, his head bowed toward the open book propped on the rock near the knee farther from us. His hair and beard are parchment white, and he has a prominent brow ridge, a long, hooked nose, and sunken cheeks. His arms and legs are sinewy and his torso is muscled. The blue cloth is knotted over his left shoulder and wraps around his hips. A lion lies next to Saint Jerome in lower right corner, his face toward us with his mouth open. There is a rectangular pool lined with blocky, cream-white stones at Saint Jerome’s feet, to our left. The cave behind him, to our right, has a jagged, narrow, vertical entrance, and there are rocky outcroppings above and to our left, over the pool. A stone arch spans the top edge of the painting, enclosing the scene below. Other animals appear around Saint Jerome, including a lizard near the pool; a squirrel on the grassy top of the cave entrance; and a black bird in the barren branches of a tree growing from the rocks above the cave. On the far side of the pool, two rabbits, white and brown, touch noses on a grass-topped, low, rocky wall. There is a hill with two dark green bushes beyond that. In the distance, a cluster of tan-colored, stone buildings, some in ruins, spread down a hillside to the water’s edge. Across the water to our right, deep in the distance, white buildings line the horizon, which comes about two-thirds of the way up this painting. A few puffs of white clouds float along the waterline against a vivd, azure-blue sky above.

Giovanni Bellini, Saint Jerome Reading, 1505, oil on linden panel, Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1939.1.217

Venetian Painting from 1480 to 1520: Bellini and Vivarini, Giorgione and Titian

Carpaccio in Context

Carpaccio in Context

  • Sunday, December 11, 2022
  • 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • West Building Lecture Hall, No Registration Required
  • In-person

Presented by Eric Denker, guest lecturer

Enjoy the first of three in-depth lectures exploring Venetian art. Presented in conjunction with Vittore Carpaccio: Master Storyteller of Renaissance Venice.

Vittore Carpaccio began his career in Giovanni Bellini's workshop, becoming one of the outstanding narrative painters of the era. His competition included not only Bellini and others in his immediate circle, but also members of the Vivarini family of artists.

In the early sixteenth century a new group of young painters emerged as competition for lucrative commissions, including Giorigone and Titian from outside of the city. Their emphasis on rich color and atmospheric effects changed the course of painting in Venice.

No registration required

Unable to attend this event in-person? Register for our virtual lecture