This engraving has always been regarded as one of Albrecht Dürer’s masterpieces. The scholarly Saint Jerome (c. 347–420 CE) diligently translates the Bible while sitting in his cozy study. He is accompanied by a lion who became his faithful companion when Jerome removed a thorn from its paw. Besides being kind to animals, Jerome was humble yet tremendously learned, able to translate the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into Latin, a language everyday people could read. Dürer treats us to a spectacular display of light entering through tiny round window panes. Jerome’s halo flares even brighter. The metaphorical connection between physical light and spiritual enlightenment is inescapable.
Image: Albrecht Dürer, German, 1471–1528, Saint Jerome in His Study, 1514, engraving. Bequest of Herschel V. Jones P.68.145