European
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workshop of Jusepe de Ribera (Spanish, 1591–1652),
Saint Jerome , after 1640
oil on canvas, 46 ½ x 35 ½ in.; 118.1 x 90.2 cm
Museum purchase, 1961.198

Representative of seventeenth-century Neapolitan painting, Ribera’s works are distinguished by striking light-dark contrasts, thickly textured paint, the unidealized depiction of physical reality, and profound emotional depth. Half-length and full-length depictions of single saints in prayer or meditation were his signature subject. Here, St. Jerome is identified by his standard attributes — a book (alluding to Jerome’s translations of Scripture), a skull (a reminder of mortality), and rock (used to beat his bare chest in penitence). 

Countless students and followers imitated Ribera’s style. Joslyn’s canvas was likely painted in Ribera’s workshop and closely follows a well-known composition by the master’s own hand.

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