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Francesco di Giorgio Martini of Siena, skilled in painting, drawing, architecture, writing, and sculpture, exemplified the multitalented "Renaissance man." Here he brings out the pictorial possibilities of bronze. Under a bare tree, amid ruins from the ancient Roman culture that Jerome had loved, the penitent saint is rendered in high relief, but his far arm seems to fade into the delicately manipulated background. The saint's traditional companion, the lion (from whose paw he had removed a thorn) drinks from a stream that winds toward a monastery on a distant hill. Tiny birds, a snake, a lizard, a tortoise, and a scorpion — each symbolizing an aspect of Jerome's experience — inhabit the flickering landscape.

Marks and Labels

Reverse lower right corner bears inverted, neatly incised lettering XVIII M, of indeterminate date, and remains of paper label to receive French customs export approval stamp.


Eugène Piot [1812-1890];[1] (sale, Hotel Drouot, Paris, 25-30 April 1864, no. 25, as by Bertoldi); Gustave Dreyfus [1837-1914]; his estate; purchased 1930 with the entire Dreyfus collection by (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris); sold 1944 to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York;[2] gift 1957 to NGA.

Exhibition History

L'Art ancien, Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1878, no. 138.
Renaissance Sculpture and Medals from the Collection of Gustave Dreyfus, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1932, no catalogue.
Francesco di Giorgio e il Rinascimento a Siena 1450-1500, Chiesa di Sant'Agostino, Siena, Italy, 1993, no. 28, repro., as San Girolamo nel deserto.
Renaissance Siena: Art for a City, National Gallery, London, 2007-2008, no. 26, repro., as Saint Jerome in Penitence.
Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible, The Met Breuer, New York, 2016, no. 5, repro.


Piot, Eugène. "La sculpture a L'Exposition Rétrospective du Trocadéro." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 2d ser., 18 (October 1878): 588, as by Bertoldo.
Piot, Eugène. L’Exposition universelle de 1878: L’art ancien. Paris, 1879: 143, as by Bertoldo.
Venturi, Adolfo. Storia dell'Arte Italiana. 11 vols. Milan, 1901-1940: 6(1908):518.
Migeon, Gaston. "La collection de M. Gustave Dreyfus, V: Les plaquettes." Les Arts 80 (August 1908): 18, 23, as attributed to Bertoldo.
Venturi, Adolfo. "Francesco di Giorgio Martini scultore." L'Arte 26 (1923): 213-214, as Francesco di Giorgio (earliest current attribution).
Venturi, Adolfo. L'Arte a San Girolamo. Milan, 1924: 168-169.
Bode, Wilhelm von. Bertoldo und Lorenzo dei Medici. Freiburg, 1925: 76-78, as by Bertoldo.
Vaudoyer, Jean-Louis. “La collection Gustave Dreyfus.” L’Amour de l’Art 6, no. 7 (1925): 257, repro. 258, as by Bertoldo.
Bode, Wilhelm von. Florentine Sculptors of the Renaissance. Translated by Jessie Haynes. Rev. 2nd ed. London, 1928: 185, as by Bertoldo.
Ricci, Seymour de. The Gustave Dreyfus Collection: Renaissance Bronzes. Oxford, 1931: 4, no. 2, pl. 2, as by Bertoldo.
Brinton, Selwyn. Francesco di Giorgio Martini of Siena: painter, sculptor, engineer, civil and military architect (1439-1502). 2 vols. London, 1935: 2:46-47.
Weller, Allen Stuart. Francesco di Giorgio 1439-1501. Chicago, 1943: 162-163, 253, fig. 60, as late 1480s.
Brandi, Cesare. Quattrocentisti senesi. Milan, 1949: 234.
Rotondi, Pasquale, ed. Studi artistici urbinati. 2 vols. [Urbino], 1949: 1:23, 71, as preceding Deposition and NGA tondi.
Seymour, Charles. Masterpieces of Sculpture from the National Gallery of Art. Washington and New York, 1949: 17-18, 178, note 30, repro. 106.
Renaissance Bronzes: Statuettes, Reliefs and Plaquettes, Medals and Coins from the Kress Collection. Introduction by Perry B. Cott. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1951: 142, repro. 61.
Landais, Herbert. Les Bronzes Italiens de la Renaissance. Paris, 1958: 38, 113, pl. 7.
Walker, John, Guy Emerson, and Charles Seymour. Art Treasures for America: An Anthology of Paintings and Sculpture in the Samuel H. Kress Collection. London, 1961: 89, color repro.
Pope-Hennessy, John W. Renaissance Bronzes from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: Reliefs, Plaquettes, Statuettes, Utensils and Mortars. London, 1965: 26-27, no. 74, fig. 15.
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 156.
Montagu, Jennifer. "Plaquettes Revealed." Apollo 83 (March 1966): 229.
Berenson, Bernard. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Central Italian and North Italian Schools. 3 vols. London, 1968: 1:142.
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. Washington, 1968: 138, repro.
Del Bravo, Carlo. Scultura senese del Quattrocento. Florence, 1970: 100-101.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1975: 628, fig. 967.
Carli, Enzo. Gli scultori senesi. Milan, 1980: 45.
Friedmann, Herbert. A Bestiary for Saint Jerome. Washington, D.C., 1980: 164-172, figs. 120, 122-124, 128.
Wilson, Carolyn C. Renaissance Small Bronze Sculpture and Associated Decorative Arts at the National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1983: 36–37, no. 4, repro.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 629, no. 974, repro.
Toledano, Ralph. Francesco di Giorgio Martini. Pittore e scultore. Milan, 1987: 134-135, no. 53, two repros., as c. 1485-1490.
Penny, Nicholas. "Non-Finito in Italian Fifteenth-Century Bronze Sculpture." Antologia di belle arti new series, nos. 48-51 (1994): 13-14, fig. 4.
Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1994: 91, repro.
Gregori, Mina, ed. In the Light of Apollo: Italian Renaissance and Greece. 2 vols. Exh. cat. National Gallery and Alexandros Souzos Museum, Athens, 2003-2004: 1:219.

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